Summary of Your Laughter by Pablo Neruda

This poem summary focuses on the poem ‘Your Laughter’ by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Neruda’s love poems are some of the most touching works ever written, and ‘Your laughter’ is no exception. This poem consists of six stanzas, each made up of varying numbers of lines.

The first stanza consists of just three lines, but is a powerful beginning to the message of the poem. The speaker, Neruda himself, addresses his beloved and says that she if free to take away his food, and even the air that he breathes, but she must not take away the sound of her laughter in his ears. Thus he equates his beloved’s laughter with all that is absolutely essential for human survival.

The second stanza consists of six lines. In this stanza, Neruda asks his beloved not to take away anything that her laughter is associated with. So he asks her not to take away the rose that she has plucked while laughing. He asks her not to take away the wave that her joy gives rise to and its silver waters in her face.

The third stanza consists of eight lines. In this stanza, Neruda that says that all his life has been a struggle. He has seen that the earth is in a state of degradation, but it does not change. Seeing this, he feels burdened and exhausted. As opposed to him hanging his head in despair, his beloved’s laughter rises in an upward motion towards the sky. Though Neruda thinks that it is the end of the path for his world that has become stagnant, his beloved’s laughter opens new doors for him.

The fourth stanza consists of eight lines again. In this stanza, Neruda says that it is in the darkest hour that his beloved’s laughter shines through. The experience of hearing his beloved’s laughter is an auditory experience, yet he connects it with a visual sense. This shows that it is not literal darkness that he is talking about. Rather it is the support lent to him by his beloved that helps him in the hard times of his life, and her laughter that keeps hope alive in his heart. Even if he starts bleeding and the streets of the town start turning led with the colour of his blood, he urges his beloved to keep laughing. For if he hears her laugh, he will not give up the fight and surrender himself to his fate. Rather he will again take up arms and rejoin the battle, for his beloved’s laughter will never let him admit defeat.

The fifth stanza also consists of eight lines. In this stanza, Neruda says that his beloved’s laughter takes different forms at different times, but always takes the exact form that he wishes to see. So near the sea, it takes the form of a “foamy cascade”. Thus his beloved’s laughter is vital in its motion. On the other hand, in springtime, his beloved’s laughter takes the form of a blue flower that he had wanted to see. Neruda calls this flower “the rose of (his) echoing country.” A blue rose is rare, hence it is possible to assert that Neruda means to say that a country such as his (that is, a country like Chile) is rare as well.

The sixth and final stanza is the longest one. It consists of fourteen short lines. In this stanza, Neruda asks his beloved to laugh at everything, whether it is the night, or the day, or the moon, or the winding streets of the island, or even at Neruda himself. Here Neruda uses a self-disparaging tone when he refers to himself simply as a boy who loves this woman. Obviously he is more than a mere boy; he is a man, and a poet, but perhaps the most profound truth about him is the love he bears for the woman. Neruda ends the poem by going back to what he had said in the first stanza. He tells his beloved that she is free to take away his food or his oxygen, whether he is awake or asleep, whether he is going away or coming towards her, but she must not take away the sound of his laughter. It is that laughter that keeps him alive, and without it, he would die.

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