The gay young men and the love-sick girls,
and the abandoned widows suffering in sleepless delirium,
and the young pregnant wives of thirty hours,
and the raucous cats that cruise my garden in the shadows,
like a necklace of pulsating oysters of sex
surround my lonely residence,
like enemies lined up against my soul,
like conspirators in bedroom clothes
who exchange long deep kisses to order.
The radiant summer leads to lovers
in predictable melancholic regiments,
made of fat and skinny, sad and happy pairings:
under the elegant coconut palms, near the ocean and the moon,
goes an endless movement of trousers and dresses,
a whisper of silk stockings being caressed,
and womens breasts that sparkle like eyes.
The little employee, after it all,
after the weeks boredom, and novels read by night in bed,
has definitively seduced the girl next door,
and carried her away to a run-down movie house
where the heroes are studs or princes mad with passion,
and strokes her legs covered with soft down
with his moist and ardent hands that smell of cigarettes.
The seducers afternoons and married peoples nights
come together like the sheets and bury me,
and the hours after lunch when the young male students
and the young girl students, and the priests, masturbate,
and the creatures fornicate outright,
and the bees smell of blood, and the flies madly buzz,
and boy and girl cousins play oddly together,
and doctors stare in fury at the young patients husband,
and the morning hours in which the professor, as if to pass the time,
performs his marriage duties, and breakfasts,
and moreover, the adulterers, who love each other truly
on beds as high and deep as ocean liners:
finally, eternally surrounding me
is a gigantic forest breathing and tangled
with gigantic flowers like mouths with teeth
and black roots in the shape of hooves and shoes.
"Lone Gentleman" by Pablo Neruda is a reflective and introspective poem that contemplates the passage of time, the inevitability of change, and the solitude that can accompany the process of aging. Through its contemplative tone and vivid imagery, the poem explores the complexities of life and the emotions that come with the transition from youth to old age.
The poem's title, "Lone Gentleman," immediately suggests a sense of isolation and solitude. The word "lone" indicates a sense of aloneness, while "gentleman" conveys a dignified and perhaps refined demeanor.
Neruda uses metaphorical language to describe the process of aging, likening it to the transformation of a landscape. The lines "your hair changed its color / and everything follows the same fate" reflect the inevitability of change and the passing of time.
The poem's imagery of the sea and its waves "taking leave of the shore" is a poignant metaphor for the departure of youth and the inexorable movement towards old age. This image captures the idea of change as a natural and irreversible process.
Neruda's use of sensory imagery, such as the descriptions of the "autumn almond" and the "tired armchair," creates a vivid portrayal of the details of life that accompany aging. These images contribute to the reflective and contemplative mood of the poem.
The poem's concluding lines, "the solitude is filled with sand / and time also with sand," capture the sense of solitude and the accumulation of time. The image of sand serves as a metaphor for the passage of time and the transient nature of life.
"Lone Gentleman" is a poignant reflection on the journey of life, aging, and the contemplation of one's existence. Through its introspective language and evocative imagery, the poem captures the sense of solitude and introspection that can accompany the process of growing older. It invites readers to reflect on the passage of time and the changing seasons of life, ultimately embracing the complexities and inevitable transitions that come with the human experience.