I want you to know

by Barbara Maria Rathbone

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.

~Pablo Neruda~

It is that day when we honour an obscure Roman martyr who has little to do with the romantic love we all yearn for, but is attached to a clumsy, commercial holiday pervasively marked by vulgar pink clouds of hearts and cheap roses. However, we all know that romantic love deserves so much more than that and so I have edited this post to honour the day my way, with Pablo’s help.

This is my favourite love poem – it captures the memory of love as well as its warming hope, its succour, its aching poignancy, and most of all its truth. This poem is not sentimental in the least and will draw each one of us back to something we have felt for someone or still do. For me, I know I can say little here to you – you may not know me or the things of which I speak. I am marked forever by something – you need not understand how or why, nor need you accept it but that will never change me or it.  A piece of my soul is shot into a thousand pieces like stardust and goes out there and finds its home. That is its nature.  I cannot explain it to anyone – it just is. Only two people know what it is, and others who wrote books about such things, and they were true.

This is my Valentine to me, because where there was suffering, a thousand times over I still wouldn’t change a thing. True and unconditional love is the smile you cannot see – don’t look for it, let it sneek up behind you and kiss your stiff limbs and straighten your fears and you will be forever changed.  I hope it finds you,  if it hasn’t already.