Love is so short, forgetting is so long

Below is a poem by Pablo Neruda about losing love, which I’ve just stumbled upon.

I have not recently lost love, as one might surmise from the thread of loss running through my recent posts.

But as I grow older, further and further from the great loves and passion of my youth, I’m finding that recalling the pain of their loss brings back feelings that I haven’t felt in a long time.  And recalling great love, or even the great pain of losing it, is preferable to numbness.

I imagine it would be like recovering from a long period of deafness to an awful din.  Or recovering one’s eyesight while staring at the sun.  Painful, but I’m thankful for a part of me that I thought was dead.

Tonight I Can Write The Saddest Lines – Pablo Neruda

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example, ‘The night is starry and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.’

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is starry and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another’s. She will be another’s. As she was before my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.

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