If You

Written for:  Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads – “All in November’s Soaking Mist”
(posted by Sanaa)

“Pablo Neruda was born on 12th July,1904, in Parral, Chile. His poems can be described as subtle and elegant, as well as being vigorous and original which brings focus upon themes such as nature, love, politics, and human condition. As I was going through some of Neruda’s poems, I came across one that completely blew me away:”

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.
“Our frame of reference is the title of Neruda’s poem. Choose your own form or write in free verse, if preferred.”

If you forget
the love we had

If you forget
the summer sand
and sea breeze

If you forget
the perfume scent
I wore

If you forget
my reaching up
to kiss you

If you forget
our special drinks
knee to knee

If you forget
the burning
intensity . . .

Then I will
have to forget
that daily ache

Then I will
have to change
all my dreams

Then I will
have to erase
all my precious memories


About purplepeninportland

I am a freelance poet, born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. I live with my husband, John, and two charming rescue dogs–Marion Miller and Murphy. We spent eight lovely years in Portland, OR, but are now back in New York. My goal is to create and share poetry with others who write, or simply enjoy reading poetry. I hope to touch a nerve in you, and feel your sparks as well.
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22 Responses to If You

  1. kanzensakura says:

    Then I will have to erase my memories…then I will have to forget…Then I will have to change…so sad about his not remembering and all the changes this will make in your life.


  2. Ah, the “have-to” conveys such a bitter sadness and a kind of compulsion to forget, to move on. Very well penned — “the burning/intensity” made me smile.


  3. sanaarizvi says:

    Ohh I can feel the bitter sweet emotions flowing through this poem and the possibility of either separation or union ❤️ Beautifully rendered. Thank you so much for writing to the prompt, Sara 😊


  4. beautifully rendered memories is those triplets – particularly poignant was the intimacy conveyed here
    “If you forget
    our special drinks
    knee to knee”


  5. Rall says:

    Beautifully expressed regrets.


  6. The have to is such a strong commitment … really it might be the way for survival.


  7. It is so hard to be glued to a memory when the one you loves lets go of it. Oh, we can survive…


  8. annell4 says:

    I think your words are true and wonderful!!! It is so, on the day we commit, we mean it forever, but we really don’t know what is ahead…and after all a woman is allowed to change her mind.


  9. Margaret Elizabeth Bednar says:

    Easier said than done.


  10. Even the thought of one person’s memories depending so much on anther’s is so terribly painful… and understandable, too (in some cases). Sometimes is just so hard holding on to memories of those we can no longer count on.


  11. But it is impossible, isn’t it, to do any of these things? I love the way you’ve expressed this.


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