Monday, 26 December 2016

You start dying slowly by Pablo Neruda

You start dying slowly
if you do not travel,
if you do not read,
If you do not listen to the sounds of life,
If you do not appreciate yourself.

You start dying slowly
When you kill your self-esteem;
When you do not let others help you.
You start dying slowly
If you become a slave of your habits,
Walking everyday on the same paths…
If you do not change your routine,
If you do not wear different colours
Or you do not speak to those you don’t know.
You start dying slowly
If you avoid to feel passion
And their turbulent emotions;
Those which make your eyes glisten
And your heart beat fast.
You start dying slowly
If you do not change your life when you are not satisfied with your job, or with your love,
If you do not risk what is safe for the uncertain,
If you do not go after a dream,
If you do not allow yourself,
At least once in your lifetime,
To run away from sensible advice.

Brotherhood by Octovio Paz

I am a man: little do I last
and the night is enormous.
But I look up: the stars write.
Unknowing I understand
I too am written,
and at this very moment
someone spells me out.

Success by Ralph Waldo Emerson

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

Connections by Nancy Wood

Every time we take a breath, we become the universe.
The very moment of creation is contained in us
and passes on to rocks and trees, animals and fish.

The old ones say the essence of life
is in water and wind, earth and breath, fire and bone,
but most of all in breath,
our first connection to the elk, the hawk, the bear, and the buffalo.

Without breath, no connection.
Without connection, no creation.
Without creation, no breath.
This is the sacred circle of life, unbroken.

Friday, 11 July 2014

The Windows by C.P. Cavafy

In these dark rooms where I live out
empty days, I circle back and forth
trying to find the windows.
It will be a great relief when a window opens.
But the windows are not there to be found—
or at least I cannot find them. And perhaps
it is better that I don’t find them.
Perhaps the light will prove another tyranny.
Who knows what new things it will expose? 

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Nothing's A Gift by Wislawa Szymborska

Nothing's a gift, it's all on loan.
I'm drowning in debts up to my ears.
I'll have to pay for myself
with my self,
give up my life for my life.

Here's how it's arranged:
The heart can be repossessed,
the liver, too,
and each single finger and toe.

Too late to tear up the terms,
my debts will be repaid,
and I'll be fleeced,
or, more precisely, flayed.

I move about the planet
in a crush of other debtors.
some are saddled with the burden
of paying off their wings.
Others must, willy-nilly,
account for every leaf.

Every tissue in us lies
on the debit side.
Not a tenacle or tendril
is for keeps.

The inventory, infinitely detailed,
implies we'll be left
not just empty-handed
but handless too.

I can't remember
where, when, and why
I let someone open
this account in my name.

We call the protest against this
the soul.
And it's the only item
not included on the list.
~ Wislawa Szymborska ~
(Poems New and Collected 1957-1997, trans. S. Baranczak and C. Cavanagh)

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Earth Song

Earth Song

from Senegal

Listen to things more often than beings.
Hear the voice of the fire, hear the voice of the water,
Listen in the wind to the sighing of the bush:
This is the ancestors breathing.
Those who are dead are never gone;
The dead are not down in the earth:
They are in the trembling of the trees,
In the groaning of the woods,
In the water that runs, in the water that sleeps,
They are in the hut, they are in the crowd.
Those who are dead are not ever gone;
They are in the woman's breast, they are in the wailing of a child,
They are in the burning log and in the moaning rock.
They are in the weeping grasses, in the forest and the home.
Listen to things more often than beings.
Hear the voice of fire, hear the voice of water.
Listen in the wind to the sighing of the bush.
This is the ancestors breathing. 

(Traditional from Senegal, translator unknown)