Pablo Neruda ( 1904 – 1973) is known for his descriptive writing and intense expressions. If you forget me is a personal note from the poet to his lover.
This poem narrates the intensity of the poet’s love for his girl. In John Keats’ La Bella Dame Sans Merci and Shakespeare’s Shall, I compare you to a summer’s day? also, we can find the similar theme.
Poet is in a state where he finds his lover everywhere. Like in Pantheism, the poet feels the presence of his lover in the crystal moon, branches of trees, ash, and log.
The poet affirms that even lifeless objects arouse her feelings within him. He feels that everything that exists leads him to her. He discerns that the objective of the entire universe itself leads him to his love.
Poet further depicts his love to the extent of intangibles like aromas and light. He characterizes a beautiful image that everything acts like a boat that takes him to the love island of his beloved.
The poet then warns his lover in the mid part of the poem ” if little by little you stop loving me, I shall stop loving you little by little.”
If she decides to forget him he confirms to her that he would have forgotten her already. Even though the statement looks conditional, it symbolizes the wails of a man with unconditional love.
In the next stanza, the poet affirms that he will search for another love as soon as his present lover avoids him. But by the end of the poem, the poet writes, still each day her memories will repeat in him and his fire of love will never extinguish for her. Poet upholds that his love will be safe within her hands. He puts forward the reciprocal nature of love through his poetry. He certifies that ” my love feeds on your love.
Read the poem below
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 without leaving mine. forgotten, my love feeds on your love, beloved, and as long as you live it will be in your arms