Forgetting long poem

(love is so short, forgetting is so long.
–    pablo neruda)

Thought I had sent you
on the back of a river, away, away,
to distant valleys.

Thought I had sent you
on the back of a cloud, away, away,
to distant islands.

but, I was wrong.
my love, I was wrong.

The truth is, not a day, not a street goes by,
without you leaping out at me
from a mirror or the moon.

The truth is, I still wake up thinking of you.
still I look for you, in every woman.

Still I talk to you, every day,
though my words no longer reach you.

Still I try in vain, to forget.
to lose you to the wind, to the rains.

on top of mountains, I stand,
waiting, and waiting,
for the wind to tear away these kisses
that you have planted on my face.

my love, the wind, the cruel wind brings with it
not fire, not sharp dust,
but the smell of your hair, your breasts,
your thighs and your armpits!

on top of houses, I stand,
waiting, and waiting,
for the rains to wash away these memories
that you have painted in my face.

my love, the rains, the cruel rains bring with them
not fever, not fresh love,
but all the water of our kisses,
all the sweat of our lovemaking,
and all our tears that have run into one another!

oh! how does one forget?
where does one send one’s own memories?
where can a heart hide its own rhythm?

I shall never know.
I shall never know.

but, I know this, my love. I know this with raging blood.

everything in this vast, vast, horrible world reminds me of you.
I can’t send you away, without sending away
this entire world in which we loved.

you have come to live in every cell of my flesh,
every drop of my blood, every beat of my heart.
I can’t lose you, without losing something of myself.

This poem is part of the Poetry Book Oblivion

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Balaji Gopalan

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I owe all of my poetry to the influence of Pablo Neruda. Reading him 10 years ago on the beaches of Goa, gave me the permission to be who I am and write what I feel. My poetry has never been the same after that. All that I write is an offering to Neruda.
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