“Love Poems” by Pablo Neruda
(Pablo Neruda: 1904 – 1903 / This edition: New Directions 2008)
Taken during Sunday brunch at the gorgeous Featherstones Bistro Cafe
*Happy Valentine’s Day!*
I got this book last March when I was still living in Tokyo. I had been wanting to get a book of his poems for so long but couldn’t find “the right book” (meaning “a pretty cover) until this one. I took the photo below across my house in late March/April 2015, when the sakura or cherry blossoms were in full bloom.
The first poem I read by Pablo Neruda was “If You Forget Me”. I forgot where I read it—but it struck me so deeply that I re-wrote it a few times in my diary, my planner, my notebooks for class (this was back in senior year of university). It still moves me every time I read it.
If You Forget Me
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 years that wait for me.
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.
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.
…Oh the feels.
I read up a few pages online (eg. this page) that analyzes the poem—some say it’s about his homeland, Chile, and some say it’s about his love affairs.
Of course I’m going to go with the “love” analysis. I love the confusion, the subtle longing and reminiscing, and the loving. The poem, especially the last stanza, always pulls at my heart strings and it makes me depressed (in a satisfying way) every time.
Anyway, the other poems in this collection are wonderful too. His poetry is easy to read and absorb—which I believe all poetry should be; nothing too complicated where you have to spend more time trying to figure out what’s actually trying to be said.
Another one I like is “Always”.
I am not jealous.
Come with a man
at your back,
come with a hundred men in your hair,
come with a thousand men between your bosom and your feet,
come like a river
filled with drowned men
that meets the furious sea,
the eternal foam, the weather.
Bring them all
where I wait for you:
we shall always be alone,
we shall always be, you and I,
alone upon the earth
to begin life.
I highly recommend this book (or other books of his works) if you like poetry. Like I said, I love how his poems are simple—they’re easy for you to just down them and absorb and let the words brew in your mind and heart. Obviously this book is full of love poems (I haven’t read any of his works that aren’t in this book) so if you’re in the mood for some lovey words, this is it.
Below are some photos from Featherstone. The place is so beautiful—I was having so much fun exploring all the nooks and crannies.