Wacht niet met het lezen van gedichten en korte verhalen totdat je je been hebt gebroken!

If You Forget Me by Pablo Neruda

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
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in
your arms
without leaving mine.

In tegenstelling tot wat je op het eerste gezicht zou denken gaat dit gedicht niet over de liefde tussen man en vrouw, maar het is eerder een “open” brief van de dichter gericht aan zijn vaderland Chili.

Pablo Neruda, die vanwegen zijn lidmaatschap van de Chileense Communitische Partij gevangen was genomen en vervolgens het land uitvluchte, schreef dit gedicht tijdens zijn ballingschap.