If You Forget Me by Pablo Neruda

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The poem is one of Pablo Neruda’s finest collections, containing undivided feelings for someone with picturesque comparisons with life and spiritual elements. The poem depicts a person’s selfless and pure love for another. It is about two choices a boy has given to a girl, whether the girl will forget him or come to him.

If You Forget Me

BY 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,
remember
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

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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.

Analysis of Neruda’s “If You Forget Me”

The poem “If You Forget Me” by Pablo Neruda is a young boy’s reflection of the intensity of his inner love. In the initial stages of the poem, he states that no matter what he does in life, everything takes him closer to his girl. The poet compares his beloved to the purity and spirituality of the moon, and says that when he looks into the divine, crystal white moon, all he can think about is her. In his mind, everything he feels, or touches, even the burnt out leaves in the fireplace or dried out crisp logs, makes him feel closer to her.

The poem is an elaborative description of how the mind and heart of the poet functions everyday in remembrance of his beloved one. The poet finds her smell in the sweet aroma of the air, her eyes flickering in the fireplace, and finds her glow in the metal pieces. The poet illustrates the belligerent screaming of his heart and how it aches for him to think if only everything could turn into a boat for him to travel oceans to be near her.

The second half of the poem gives us a picturesque depiction of how selfless and pure the love of the poet is for his beloved. He mentions that even if she might stop loving him someday, he won’t stop longing for her. Instead he will pray to God to make the day his beloved stops thinking about him the way she used to, his last day.

The poet states that his love is undivided, and their love can be everlasting if she remembers him every day just like he does, if she longs for him as badly as he. The poet wants nothing else than to grow old with his beloved, and eventually to die in her arms, even though he doesn’t know if she even remembers him.

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