The spirit of Nobel's will tells us what he had in mind.
The contribution must be one which will benefit mankind.
For the way from Canto general was still long and full of experiences, enriching or bitter.
The territory of terror was found to lie in more than one part of the globe and Neruda saw this with the indignation of one who feels himself duped.
He himself, in one of his New Elemental Odes, has defined it in the formula: harmony with Man and the Earth. What these Twenty Poems of Love and One Ode of Desperation depict is the meeting between two people's desolation in the shadow of destruction, and in the next major work, Residence on Earth, he is still "alone among shifting matter". It was as if a release from the shadow of death and a way towards fellowship were opened when he saw friends and fellow writers taken away in fetters and executed.
The direction in his work, the direction which can so justly be called ideal, is indicated by the path which has brought him to this harmony. He found the fellowship of the oppressed and persecuted.
Whither Neruda's path will take him now, it is not for anyone to say.
But the direction is the one already set, harmony with Man and the Earth, and we shall follow with high expectations this remarkable poetry, which with the overflowing vitality of an awakening continent resembles one of its rivers, growing all the mightier and more majestic the closer it approaches the estuary and the sea.
But out of the fellowship with this territory of terror there grew, too, awareness of its riches, pride over its past, and hope for its future, for that which he saw shimmering like a mirage far to the East.
This huge collection is no more than a drop in Neruda's brimming output. To require moderation in such an inspiration is as if to demand system and order from a jungle and restraint from a volcano.
The fact that Neruda's œuvre is so difficult to view as a whole may also make it difficult to recognize what distances he has put behind him.
The erstwhile idol who was set up everywhere in "the stucco statutes of a moustachioed god in boots" now appeared in an ever more merciless light, as did the similarity in methods and trappings between the two leader figures whom he called just Moustache and Little Moustache.
But at the same time Neruda was also led to a new relationship to Love and to Woman, to the origin and continuance of life, perhaps most beautifully expressed in yet another masterpiece from recent years, La Barcarola.