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Poet’s Corner

By Cian Pierce

This issue, I wanted to share one of my favourite poems by the 20th century, Chilean, Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda. In “If you forget me,” Neruda emphasizes the need for reciprocity in his romance, though the subject of the poem isn’t completely clear, it could be his home country Chile, or his lover and third wife, Matilde Urrutia. Regardless, Neruda’s work will never be forgotten

 

Si tú me olvidas  /  If you forget me  

by Pablo Neruda (published 1963)

 

Quiero que sepas

una cosa.

Tú sabes cómo es esto:

si miro

la luna de cristal, la rama roja

del lento otoño en mi ventana,

si toco

junto al fuego

la impalpable ceniza

o el arrugado cuerpo de la leña,

todo me lleva a ti,

como si todo lo que existe,

aromas, luz, metales,

fueran pequeños barcos que navegan

hacia las islas tuyas que me aguardan.

Ahora bien,

si poco a poco dejas de quererme

dejaré de quererte poco a poco.

Si de pronto

me olvidas

no me busques,

que ya te habré olvidado.

Si consideras largo y loco

el viento de banderas

que pasa por mi vida

y te decides

a dejarme a la orilla

del corazón en que tengo raíces,

piensa

que en ese día,

a esa hora

levantaré los brazos

y saldrán mis raíces

a buscar otra tierra.

Pero

si cada día,

cada hora

sientes que a mí estás destinada

con dulzura implacable.

Si cada día sube

una flor a tus labios a buscarme,

ay amor mío, ay mía,

en mí todo ese fuego se repite,

en mí nada se apaga ni se olvida,

mi amor se nutre de tu amor, amada,

y mientras vivas estará en tus brazos

sin salir de los míos.

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,

remember

that on that day,

at that hour,

I shall lift my arms

and my roots will set off

to seek another land.

 

But

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.