We Are Many Poem by Pablo Neruda

We Are Many

Rating: 3.5

Of the many men whom I am, whom we are,
I cannot settle on a single one.
They are lost to me under the cover of clothing
They have departed for another city.

When everything seems to be set
to show me off as a man of intelligence,
the fool I keep concealed on my person
takes over my talk and occupies my mouth.

On other occasions, I am dozing in the midst
of people of some distinction,
and when I summon my courageous self,
a coward completely unknown to me
swaddles my poor skeleton
in a thousand tiny reservations.

When a stately home bursts into flames,
instead of the fireman I summon,
an arsonist bursts on the scene,
and he is I. There is nothing I can do.
What must I do to distinguish myself?
How can I put myself together?

All the books I read
lionize dazzling hero figures,
brimming with self-assurance.
I die with envy of them;
and, in films where bullets fly on the wind,
I am left in envy of the cowboys,
left admiring even the horses.

But when I call upon my DASHING BEING,
out comes the same OLD LAZY SELF,
and so I never know just WHO I AM,
nor how many I am, nor WHO WE WILL BE BEING.
I would like to be able to touch a bell
and call up my real self, the truly me,
because if I really need my proper self,
I must not allow myself to disappear.

While I am writing, I am far away;
and when I come back, I have already left.
I should like to see if the same thing happens
to other people as it does to me,
to see if as many people are as I am,
and if they seem the same way to themselves.
When this problem has been thoroughly explored,
I am going to school myself so well in things
that, when I try to explain my problems,
I shall speak, not of self, but of geography.

We Are Many
Tyler Tracy 14 June 2007

This poem is awsome! !

17 6 Reply
Kentucky Refugee 29 May 2008

To what degree are we all 'split'? Are we not all multifaceted? The problem arises when the splits are unknown and unconscious.

15 7 Reply
Dr Dillip K Swain 05 September 2022

I shall speak not of the self but of the geography... the concluding line!

0 3 Reply
Smoky Hoss 29 December 2020

One of the truest poems ever wrote.

0 0 Reply
Marina 06 June 2018

Know thyself said Socrates. It is the most difficult task for every one of us.

3 2 Reply
Henrik Skensved 13 November 2016

In remembrance of Leonard Cohen who passed away this week, I listened to his Goin' home and pondered whether he is trying to express the same as Neruda does in the above wonderful poem on an attempted but alas failing rational approach to life and self.

5 1 Reply
Putul S 03 October 2009

So typical of all of us! Very Beautifully expressed.

14 4 Reply
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