Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A "Found" Poem

When I was in Tequisquiapan....was it last week or 2 weeks ago??.....I've been moving so quickly across the Mexican landscape, that I can't remember where or when. When I was in Tequisquiapan, I had lunch in a little natural foods shop. On the counter was a handout with a poem by Pablo Nerudo. Now, Nerudo is one of my favorite writers, one I came across when I was down in Chile almost 20 years ago. He is the beloved favorite son of Chile, sort of like Carl Sandburg or Robert Frost in our country.

Nerudo won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1971 and grew up in the same town in Chile, Temuco, that I lived in in 1991. I've translated the poem here for you. The message is especially nice:

It remains prohibited to cry without learning,
to wake up one day without knowing what to do,
to have fear of your memories.
It remains prohibited to not smile at problems,
not to fight for that which you love,
to abandon all because of fear,
to not make a reality of your dreams.
It remains prohibited to not show love,
to make someone else pay for your doubts and bad humor.
It remains prohibited to leave your friends,
to not try to understand that we all live together,
to call them only when you need them.
It remains prohibited to not be yourself before other people,
To feign to be something you're not before people that don't matter,
to be charming so that they remember you,
to forget all the people that you love.
It remains prohibited to not do things for yourself,
to not believe in God and not to make your own destiny,
To have fear of life and your promises,
To not live each day as if it were your last breath.
It remains prohibited to miss someone without being happy,
to forget their eyes, laugh, everything.
Because your roads have left you from embracing,
To forget your past and pay for it with your present.
It remains prohibited to not try to understand people,
To think that their lives are worth more than your own,
To not know that each one has his own path and his own story.
It remains prohibited to not create your own story.
To not give thanks to God for your life,
To not have a moment for people that you need,
to not understand what Life gives you,
also that which it takes away from you.
It remains prohibited to not look for your own happiness,
to not live your life with a positive attitude,
Not to think that we can be better,
to not feel that without you this world wouldn't be the same.

--Pablo Neruda

And, my friends, that's why he won the Nobel prize for literature!