Explain the metaphors used by Pablo Neruda in "If You Forget Me."

In Pablo Neruda's "If You Forget Me," a log is described as a wrinkled body. Aromas, light, metals, and all other things that exist are little boats. The beloved is an archipelago. The expression of the poet's love is wind that stirs banners. He is a plant. Words of love are a flower, and love itself is a fire.

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A metaphor is a comparison of two unalike things in which one is said to be the other without the use of a word such as "like" or "as." The speaker of this poem describes the moon as "crystal," and we know this is figurative because the moon is not really made of crystal, but such a description makes it seem as though the moon must look very clear and glassy to be described in such a way. The burned log in the fire is described as having a "wrinkled body," comparing it to something that either is, or was, alive—like an animal or human.

The speaker also describes "those isles of yours that wait" for the arrival of all the things in existence (which are compared to "little boats" via a simile ). Thus, the narrator uses a metaphor to compare his beloved to a group of islands. This is, of course, if we interpret the poem as being addressed to a lover. However, if we interpret the poem as being addressed to Neruda's homeland of Chile, a place from which he was banished for his beliefs, then...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on October 1, 2020
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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on October 1, 2020