WRINKLED = com rugas; enrugado. “…or the wrinkled body of the log”
LOOK AT = olhar. “… if I look at the crystal moon …”
LOOK FOR = procurar. “If suddenly | you forget me | do not look for me”
FEED ON = alimentar-se de. “… my love feeds on your love …”
Pablo Neruda was a Chilean poet-diplomat and politician who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. Neruda became known as a poet when he was 13 years old, and wrote in a variety of styles, including surrealist poems, historical epics, political manifestos, a prose autobiography, and passionate love poems.
Neruda occupied many diplomatic positions in various countries during his lifetime and served a term as a Senator for the Chilean Communist Party. When President Gabriel Videla outlawed communism in Chile in 1948, a warrant was issued for Neruda’s arrest. Friends hid him for months in the basement of a house in the port city of Valparaíso; Neruda escaped through a mountain pass near a lake into Argentina. Years later, Neruda was a close advisor to Chile’s socialist President Salvador Allende. When Neruda returned to Chile after his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Allende invited him to read at the National Stadium before 70,000 people.
Neruda was hospitalised with cancer in September 1973, at the time of the coup d’état led by Augusto Pinochet that overthrew Allende’s government, but returned home after a few days when he suspected a doctor of injecting him with an unknown substance for the purpose of murdering him on Pinochet’s orders. Neruda died in his house in Isla Negra on 23 September 1973, just hours after leaving the hospital.
Although it was long reported that he died of heart failure, the Interior Ministry of the Chilean government issued a statement in 2015 acknowledging a Ministry document indicating the government’s official position that “it was clearly possible and highly likely” that Neruda was killed as a result of “the intervention of third parties”. However, an international forensic test conducted in 2013 rejected allegations that he was poisoned and concluded that he was suffering from prostate cancer. Pinochet, backed by elements of the armed forces, denied permission for Neruda’s funeral to be made a public event, but thousands of grieving Chileans disobeyed the curfew and crowded the streets.
Neruda is often considered the national poet of Chile, and his works have been popular and influential worldwide. The Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez once called him “the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language.”
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 that sail 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.
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,
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.