I’ve been a fan of Neruda for a while now. In his Sonnet LXVI: I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You, he says:

Maybe January light will consume
My heart with its cruel
Ray, stealing my key to true calm.

I do not understand these verses. Especially why does he mention January specifically? And what does he mean by January light?

  • It's worth noting that this poem was originally in Spanish. A blogger has provided an alternative English translation without those odd line breaks. It's even more worth noting that January in Spanish is "enero", which appears at the end of the line to rhyme with "entero" (entire). But a good poet should have more reason for wording choice than just "because it rhymes", so that can't be the full answer. – Rand al'Thor Sep 15 '19 at 14:10
  • @Randal'Thor thanks! But I still don’t get the relevance of January! – Verbose Sep 15 '19 at 14:12

Well Neruda was Chilean and Chile is in the southern hemisphere. Therefore January is the hottest month by far and when the sun shines more cruelly.

I am not Chilean but I am from the same latitude in Argentina. As January is the hottest month it is usually the month with the brightest light also.

  • Is "January light" ("la luz de enero") a common saying in that part of the world for intense sunlight? – Rand al'Thor Oct 4 '19 at 11:35
  • @Randal'Thor That does make a lot of sense in the context of the verse. Thank you! – Verbose Dec 1 '19 at 22:31

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