Years ago, I studied Spanish in the language immersion environment of Middlebury College. It was a Vermont summer interacting with Spanish language learners of all levels, from beginners, like me, to graduate level students. One day, I met a 3rd year student who shared the poem she would recite at a presentation. It was “Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche” by Pablo Neruda.
The words flowed so beautifully and although some words were recognizable, it did require me to bust out my well-worn Spanish-English dictionary. I fumbled through translating the poem with my beginning language skills and found it to be such a poignant piece of work that it instantly became a favorite.
The one line that pulled me in was “Es tan corto el amor, y es tan largo el olvido,” loosely translated, “Love is so short, but forgetting is so long”. The sadness of a lost love is something most people have experienced and this one line expressed the sadness in moving on. Pablo Neruda’s word choice and imagery reminds me of my worst heartbreak and whenever I read this poem, I’m transported back to that time when the ache was still strong, but the next chapter was awaiting to be written.
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