Study Guide

A Song of Despair Sadness

By Pablo Neruda

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Well, if the title "A Song of Despair" doesn't clue you in, then you're in for a surprise when you see just how weepy this poem is. It's sad, sorrowful, and lamenting. The speaker has lost his love and he is grieving for it. You might want to turn on some blues while you read if you like your poetry soundtracks to be thematic.

Here is a video about another poem that Pablo Neruda wrote about sadness and despair.

Questions About Sadness

  1. Why is "The Song of Despair" a song? If it were set to music, what kind would best describe its sadness?
  2. Why, exactly, is the speaker so sad? Is he the only one who is sad in the poem?
  3. Which images best evoke the feeling of sorrow at the center of the poem?
  4. Do you think the speaker clings to sadness? In other words, is he embracing his sorrow on purpose?

Chew on This

The speaker seems to be sad that he lost his lover, but the way he describes their relationship makes it sound like they were sad when they were together back then, too. Lose-lose.

The woman is the source of all sadness in this poem. A-ha!

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