If You Forget Me by Pablo Neruda

About the Poet

Pablo Neruda was born on July 12, 1904, in Chile as Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. He is regarded as the greatest poet of his age who wrote in Spanish. Around the age of ten, Neruda began writing. He went on to become a well-known Chilean poet. He was elected to the Senate in 1943 and joined the Communist Party. In 1948, Chile declared communism illegal, and a warrant was issued for Neruda’s arrest. As a result, he lost his Senate seat and was forced to flee the authorities. Despite having to flee, Neruda continued to write during this period. He returned to Chile in 1952 since he was no longer in danger of being arrested. Throughout his life, Neruda acquired several honours. Some examples are the International Peace Prize (1950), the Lenin Peace Prize (1953), the Stalin Peace Prize (1953), and the Nobel Prize in Literature (1971). On September 23, 1973, he died of leukaemia in Santiago, Chile.

About the Poem

If You Forget Me is a famous poem by Pablo Neruda. It is one of the poems included in his collection Twenty Love Poems and Song of Despair. This poem was composed while Pablo Neruda was living in exile from Chile, during which time he had an affair with Matilde Urrutia, who later became his third wife. The poem was most likely composed for Matilde. This poem depicts how, once someone has taken control of your mind, everything you see, hear, touch, or naturally encounter will remind you of that person. Neruda also discusses the ramifications of his lover’s abandonment in this poem. Love can only survive as long as a relationship is cherished and not ignored. When one person does not consider it important, the relationship suffers.

According to the preceding notion, love is conditional. If a person wants to continue a love relationship, they must have certain love prerequisites. Because the conditions of love are vital in a relationship, the writer chose the topic. Without one requirement,it is impossible for someone to fall in love with another. There was once a true story about a very beautiful woman who was supposedly eager to marry a man with a disability who couldn’t stand and was only laying on his bed, his mouth always babbling and drooling. The gorgeous woman wiped the crippled man’s saliva with patience. The gorgeous woman always brings the crippled man with a cot wherever they go. Someone was interested and asked her why she wanted to marry the crippled man even though there were many normal men out there who were undoubtedly well established.”The reason I want to marry him is because I believe he is the one who will take me to heaven because I hear from his mouth that he never stops chanting the holy scriptures of Allah,” the very attractive woman said.

If you forget me

Summary of If You Forget Me

Pablo Neruda penned this poem while in exile from Chile. At that time he was having an affair with a woman named Matilde Urrutia. The poem may have been written with Matilde in mind. The poem portrays the endurance of love when it is cared for without ignorance. Other scholars feel this poem was addressed not to his lover, but to his homeland Chile, warning her not to forget him while he is in exile. Regardless of perspective, the poem is one of the most popular love poems in literature.

The poem is a reflection of the depth of a young boy’s inner love. At the beginning of the poem, he says that whatever he accomplishes in life brings him closer to his girl. The poet compares his beloved to the moon’s purity and spirituality, saying that when he looks at the divine, crystal white moon, all he can think about is her. Everything he feels or touches, even the burnt-out leaves in the fireplace or the dried out crisp wood, makes him feel closer to her in his imagination.

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The poem is an elaborative explanation of how the poet’s thoughts and heart function on a daily basis in remembering of his beloved one. The poet discovers her scent in the delicious aroma of the air, her eyes blazing in the fireplace, and her glow in the metal fragments. The poet depicts his heart’s ferocious screams and how it aches for him to think if only everything could change into a boat so he could traverse oceans to be near her.

The second half of the poem paints a beautiful picture of the poet’s unselfish and pure love for his sweetheart. He says that even if she stops loving him one day, he will never stop longing for her. Instead, he will ask God to make the day his beloved no longer thinks about him the way she used to be his final day.

The poet claims that his love is undivided and that their love can be eternal if she remembers him every day, just as he does, and if she longs for him as much as he does. The poet wants nothing more than to grow old with his lover and eventually die in her arms, despite the fact that he has no idea if she remembers him at all.

Analysis of If You Forget Me

Title: The title makes me think this poem is about Pablo saying “remember me by.”  However, it is not necessarily about remembering him, where it is more “ I love you but if you stop loving me in return, “Forget me,” I will move on.

Paraphrase: This poem expresses love for another individual through nature. “If each day a flower climbs up to your lips to seek me..”

Speaker:  The speaker of the poem is someone who is in love with someone else and wants that person to remember them and know that if life separates them and they move on that he will still love her.

Figurative language: The poem utilizes a lot of personification and metaphors. “I shall lift my arms and my roots will set off to seek another land.”

Attitude: His tone is sincere and has a firm voice. Sincerity is expressed through his love, “my love feeds on your love,” but he is also firm when he states if she chooses to leave he will let go.

Shifts: The only shift is between the expression of love to forget her.
“Well, now, if little by little you stop loving me I shall stop loving you little by little.”

Theme: The subject is loss and love. The theme is that our love is here and right now but if life carries us in different ways then it is done. “do not look for me, for I shall have already forgotten you.”

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