Saturday, May 8, 2010

Nerudas Poetry - If you Forget Me

Poetry Month is over, but somehow I did not manage to blog about each of my favourite Pablo Neruda poems even though I did include 10 of his very best and renowned poems.  I enjoy poetry and so decided that it would be fun to do one poetry blog a month throughout the whole year instead of just April.  You can look forward to the last day in every month to be a poetry blog - or not and skip that blog :-p.

For good measure I will also do one today and it will be another of my Neruda favourites.  Stay tuned for the end of May - I promise to introduce you to a poet and writer I have not spoken (much) about as yet.  I wrote briefly about Jack Kerouac as a sidebar to the Haiku blog here.  I will feature this interesting "beat" author and discuss beat generation poetry and other literature in my May 30th blog.

If you are interested in Neruda the man, but not so much interested in more Love Poems, skip down to the last part.  I found a fascinating documentary covering the early part of his life and I have included it at the end of this blog.

Neruda's Sonnet: If You Forget Me

If you have not read the previous posts to celebrate poetry month  relating Pablo Neruda's great poetry go here to catch up.    In the following Video Madonna narrates Neruda's Poem If You Forget Me.  She included it on a version of her song "Frozen", calling it "Frozen (Poetry Edit)".  I can`t find this one in any of the 3 books  his poetry I have, so therefore it is not in his 100 Love Sonnets, 20 Poems and Song of Despair or his poetry book titled Intimacies.  If anyone out there knows which book this one was published in I would be glad for the information.

I really like this one. It expresses so potently the way our love, if not returned fades away over time.  The opposite can also occur, if one feels a warm and shining love from another, slowly over time the love you feel for that other person can grow, as if nutured itself by the love emanating from the other person.   I have had this happen to me in more than one instance...  Love can ebb and flow like the tides driven by the moon.  This is one thing that perplexes me.  But no matter.  Listen to Madonna recite for us Neruda`s If you Forget Me.

For some other thoughts and analysis of the meaning of this poem go here.

If You Forget Me
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.

- Pablo Neruda

A Documentary on Pablo Neruda`s Life
This is a 6 part series on the early life of Pablo Neruda.  I have included the first part below and links to the remaining 5 parts, if you are interested you can click through.

Also, I have also  found a short biography  in case you want the Coles Notes. 

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:


  1. This was a pretty love poem. I hope you are keeping warm in Collingwood. It is such a cold weekend for May! There is snow in our forecast for this evening. I would expect nothing more than flurries, but one never knows. I'm happy that you are enjoying reading my Letters to Mom blog.

  2. I believe it's in The Captain's Verses. Check out for a great documentary on Neruda. Also I suggest The Essential Neruda for a great selection--it's the bestselling on Amazon--of Pablo translations.


  3. Thank you so much Veronica for the Neruda resources.. I had a quick look just now at the redpoppy site and I will need to take a slow browse through - looks like a great site. I will also put the book on my wish list.


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