I first met the pages of Pablo Neruda's verse as a high school student. Though they were romantic whims then, many of them have become sentimental to me. Few have become symbolic of eras and relationships in my life. I chose this poem because it so well captures the woman I was before I became the woman I am now. It represents a time in my life when I was called to mature emotionally, to accept that destiny is only half-choice, so perhaps a majority of our lives falls to chance.
I was once in love with someone who gifted me a book of Neruda's verse. I still have it. I think this poem represents that special relationship that drifted away. I have no more feeling for the person, but the words of this poem always conjure that sincere feeling of a goodbye. And that's okay. The older you get, the more you learn of the word 'goodbye.' How sometimes it's your calling, sometimes the call of someone else.
I believe everything happens for a reason. Some things fall apart so others can come together. Still, those other things fall apart to make way for more new. And so is the progression of life. It's okay to remember, it's not okay to cling to things left only to memory. I think that modern term is 'moving on.' And that's what this poem helped me to do a few years ago.
If You Forget Me
by Pablo Neruda
I want you to know
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
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.
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,
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 poem concludes my Month of Favorite Poetry in celebration of National Poetry Writing Month.
This is the first time I've ever done this. It's been a challenge to pick select-favorites...as I have so many. Poetry is a mainstay in my life. It's like an old friend I can return to again and again. I have so much admiration for those who write and share their words.
I've enjoyed my month of reading, writing, and devouring words and poetry. It's been a challenge, but it's been a gift. :)