Pablo Neruda: “If You Forget Me”

If You Forget Me

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how it is:
if I look
at the moon made of crystal
or a branch of red
or the slow autumn at my window,
if I feel
within the fire
an impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of a log,
everything brings me to you,
as if everything that existed,
aromas, light, metals,
were tiny boats that sail
toward those islands of yours
that still wait for me.

And yet,
if little by little you stop loving me,
little by little I will stop loving you.

If suddenly
you forget me
don’t go looking for me.
I will have forgotten you
already.

If you decide
the banner wind
that passes through my life
is too long or too crazy,
if you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots
then know
that on that day
and on that hour
I will raise up my arms
to leave my roots
and seek another land.

But,
if every day
and every hour
you feel that
you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if every day
a flower ascends
to touch your lips
and search for me,
then oh my love,
my love,
in me
all this fire will be repeated
in me
nothing will be extinguished or forgotten
and my love will feed
on your love, love,
and long as you live
it will lie in your arms
without ever leaving mine.

Pablo Neruda

Translated from Spanish by Paul Weinfield, © 2015
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