Poem Hunter
If You Forget Me
(1672-1719 / England)

If You Forget Me

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

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Comments (7)

Enjoyed reading........Thanks for sharing...............
Infected tide! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
Sorry Joseph Addison (1672 - 1719) was in fact an 17th / 18th century Brit so Mr Pruchnicki though your reading may be correct your years are out by about 100 years At the time of writing the British Empire was only a fledgling empire! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
OK, we've established Harmon's maladroit critique, Straw's nit-picking as usual, and Ahearn's dismay at oh-so-many verses and lines that his mind wanders so much that the poor lad despairs of whatever! ! I don't know but what say you give this a read as to what A LETTER FROM ITALY might suggest to a more incisive reader! I read it as a communique from a Roman like Pontius Pilate to his emperor and the senate in the manner of a report from the governor of an occupied territory in the Roman empire! Of course, Addison is a 19th century Brit assuming the rank of an ancient Roman reporting to his superior, but always the reader is aware that there is a subtext - a subtle but clear critique of the British empire in the 19th century! Though the alleged Roman sings the praises of his native land, Addison's persona notes always that Britannia rules the waves and is the guarantor of freedom and liberty! I'd say that was pretty clear from a closer reading than those of Harmon, Straw and Ahearn!
This is an end-stopped Erebus in verse, a rhyming-couplet catastrophe. Addison's forte was criticism, not poetry. The critical line here is: 'But I've already troubled you too long, '
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