If You Forget Me – 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, 

remember 

that on that day, 

at that hour, 

I shall lift my arms 

and my roots will set off 

to seek another land. 
But 

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.

Here I Love You – Pablo Neruda

Here I love you. 

In the dark pines the wind disentangles itself. 

The moon glows like phosphorous on the vagrant waters. 

Days, all one kind, go chasing each other. 
The snow unfurls in dancing figures. 

A silver gull slips down from the west. 

Sometimes a sail. High, high stars. 

Oh the black cross of a ship. 

Alone. 

Sometimes I get up early and even my soul is wet. 

Far away the sea sounds and resounds. 

This is a port. 
Here I love you. 

Here I love you and the horizon hides you in vain. 

I love you still among these cold things. 

Sometimes my kisses go on those heavy vessels 

that cross the sea towards no arrival. 

I see myself forgotten like those old anchors. 
The piers sadden when the afternoon moors there. 

My life grows tired, hungry to no purpose. 

I love what I do not have. You are so far. 

My loathing wrestles with the slow twilights. 

But night comes and starts to sing to me. 
The moon turns its clockwork dream. 

The biggest stars look at me with your eyes. 

And as I love you, the pines in the wind 

want to sing your name with their leaves of wire.

Twenty Poems Of Love – Pablo Neruda

I can write the saddest lines tonight. 
Write for example: ‘The night is fractured 

and they shiver, blue, those stars, in the distance’ 
The night wind turns in the sky and sings. 

I can write the saddest lines tonight. 

I loved her, sometimes she loved me too. 
On nights like these I held her in my arms. 

I kissed her greatly under the infinite sky. 
She loved me, sometimes I loved her too. 

How could I not have loved her huge, still eyes. 
I can write the saddest lines tonight. 

To think I don’t have her, to feel I have lost her. 
Hear the vast night, vaster without her. 

Lines fall on the soul like dew on the grass. 
What does it matter that I couldn’t keep her. 

The night is fractured and she is not with me. 
That is all. Someone sings far off. Far off, 

my soul is not content to have lost her. 
As though to reach her, my sight looks for her. 

My heart looks for her: she is not with me 

The same night whitens, in the same branches. 

We, from that time, we are not the same. 
I don’t love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her. 

My voice tried to find the breeze to reach her. 
Another’s kisses on her, like my kisses. 

Her voice, her bright body, infinite eyes. 
I don’t love her, that’s certain, but perhaps I love her. 

Love is brief: forgetting lasts so long. 
Since, on these nights, I held her in my arms, 

my soul is not content to have lost her. 
Though this is the last pain she will make me suffer, 

and these are the last lines I will write for her.

And Because Love Battles – Pablo Neruda

And because love battles 

not only in its burning agricultures 

but also in the mouth of men and women, 

I will finish off by taking the path away 

to those who between my chest and your fragrance 

want to interpose their obscure plant. 
About me, nothing worse 

they will tell you, my love, 

than what I told you. 
I lived in the prairies 

before I got to know you 

and I did not wait love but I was 

laying in wait for and I jumped on the rose. 
What more can they tell you? 

I am neither good nor bad but a man, 

and they will then associate the danger 

of my life, which you know 

and which with your passion you shared. 
And good, this danger 

is danger of love, of complete love 

for all life, 

for all lives, 

and if this love brings us 

the death and the prisons, 

I am sure that your big eyes, 

as when I kiss them, 

will then close with pride, 

into double pride, love, 

with your pride and my pride. 
But to my ears they will come before 

to wear down the tour 

of the sweet and hard love which binds us, 

and they will say: “The one 

you love, 

is not a woman for you, 

Why do you love her? I think 

you could find one more beautiful, 

more serious, more deep, 

more other, you understand me, look how she’s light, 

and what a head she has, 

and look at how she dresses, 

and etcetera and etcetera”. 
And I in these lines say: 

Like this I want you, love, 

love, Like this I love you, 

as you dress 

and how your hair lifts up 

and how your mouth smiles, 

light as the water 

of the spring upon the pure stones, 

Like this I love you, beloved. 
To bread I do not ask to teach me 

but only not to lack during every day of life. 

I don’t know anything about light, from where 

it comes nor where it goes, 

I only want the light to light up, 

I do not ask to the night 

explanations, 

I wait for it and it envelops me, 

And so you, bread and light 

And shadow are. 
You came to my life 

with what you were bringing, 

made 

of light and bread and shadow I expected you, 

and Like this I need you, 

Like this I love you, 

and to those who want to hear tomorrow 

that which I will not tell them, let them read it here, 

and let them back off today because it is early 

for these arguments. 
Tomorrow we will only give them 

a leaf of the tree of our love, a leaf 

which will fall on the earth 

like if it had been made by our lips 

like a kiss which falls 

from our invincible heights 

to show the fire and the tenderness 

of a true love.

Drunk As Drunk – Pablo Neruda

Translated from the Spanish by Christopher Logue 
Drunk as drunk on turpentine 

From your open kisses, 

Your wet body wedged 

Between my wet body and the strake 

Of our boat that is made of flowers, 

Feasted, we guide it – our fingers 

Like tallows adorned with yellow metal – 

Over the sky’s hot rim, 

The day’s last breath in our sails. 
Pinned by the sun between solstice 

And equinox, drowsy and tangled together 

We drifted for months and woke 

With the bitter taste of land on our lips, 

Eyelids all sticky, and we longed for lime 

And the sound of a rope 

Lowering a bucket down its well. Then, 

We came by night to the Fortunate Isles, 

And lay like fish 

Under the net of our kisses.

The Dead Woman – Pablo Neruda

If suddenly you do not exist, 

if suddenly you no longer live, 

I shall live on. 
I do not dare, 

I do not dare to write it, 

if you die. 
I shall live on. 
For where a man has no voice, 

there, my voice. 
Where blacks are beaten, 

I cannot be dead. 

When my brothers go to prison 

I shall go with them. 
When victory, 

not my victory, 

but the great victory comes, 

even though I am mute I must speak; 

I shall see it come even 

though I am blind. 
No, forgive me. 

If you no longer live, 

if you, beloved, my love, 

if you have died, 

all the leaves will fall in my breast, 

it will rain on my soul night and day, 

the snow will burn my heart, 

I shall walk with frost and fire and death and snow, 

my feet will want to walk to where you are sleeping, but

I shall stay alive, 

because above all things 

you wanted me indomitable, 

and, my love, because you know that I am not only a man 

but all mankind.

Water – Pablo Neruda

Everything on the earth bristled, the bramble 

pricked and the green thread 

nibbled away, the petal fell, falling 

until the only flower was the falling itself. 

Water is another matter, 

has no direction but its own bright grace, 

runs through all imaginable colors, 

takes limpid lessons 

from stone, 

and in those functionings plays out 

the unrealized ambitions of the foam.