I was struck by this Pablo Neruda poem, the resolve in it, the level of self-knowledge its narrator shows. Poetry often allows for the distillation of human experience, and this one is no exception. I particularly like the use of the beach imagery, as I also like to use it in my poetry. I’ve used the beach to represent the landing zone for hopes and dreams, but in this poem it takes on a different meaning.

The stanzas below are taken from a longer poem called “If You Forget Me,” which is from Neruda’s collected works. The longer poem takes on a different tone, but the quoted stanzas are pretty powerful on their own.

Here it is.

“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”

~ Pablo Neruda, Selected Poems

It’s November; the winds of change are blowing. I can feel it.

© 2012, Brian Stumbaugh. All rights reserved.