Tuesday, July 31

If You Forget Me - Pablo Neruda

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine. 

This will sound like an overbearing and unyielding student but anyhow: I am so excited to be able to write a commentary on... no, not only one of Pablo Neruda's poems, but the first and favorite one that I have ever read! This modern poem is the most realistic love poem that I have ever come across. I feel that although arguable, Pablo, genius Pablo, has managed to capture the fundamental essence of love: a contract of two hearts / a palpable struggle between safety and "self-sacrifice". It might be the nature of young love that is invariably ubiquitous in my stage of life that accounts for this "childish" categorization, but I do feel that the decision to love is this perpetual struggle. Unless you are some haggard that has given up on the state of naivety you have to be in, when in love, then love may be just a flowery description to extoll your jaded love life. But anyway, this is the first poem that had brought me to tears. It's realism easily crosses out all the unduly romanticized poems. I believe that it takes two to love. There is no such thing as loving someone without wanting a part of them to be with you. There is just no one that "benevolent". Anyone who claims that they are alright with an un-reciprocated love is more pompous than benevolent! And Pablo Neruda exalts this theory well. Shoot me for being skeptical but at least I'm not delusional. I love you, blunt, genius Pablo Neruda! I am so excited.