On LivingFound over at Kafila at the end of a very readable piece by Nivedita Menon.
- Nazim Hikmet
Living is no laughing matter:
You must live with great seriousness
Like a squirrel, for example -
I mean without looking for something beyond and above living,
I mean living must be your whole occupation.
Living is no laughing matter…
I mean, you must take living so seriously
that even at seventy for example, you’ll plant olive trees -
and not just for your children either,
but because although you fear death you don’t believe it,
because living, I mean, weighs heavier... .
Let’s say we’re at the front -
for something worth fighting for, say.
There, in the first offensive, on that very day,
We might fall on our face, dead.
We’ll know this with a curious anger,
But we’ll still worry ourselves to death
About the outcome of the war, which could last years.
Let’s say we’re in prison
And close to fifty,
And we have eighteen more years, say,
Before the iron doors will open.
We’ll still live with the outside,
With its people and animals, struggle and wind - I mean with the outside beyond the walls.
I mean, however and wherever we are,
We must live as if we will never die.
This earth will grow cold,
a star among stars, and one of the smallest,
a gilded mote on blue velvet -
I mean this, our great earth.
This great earth will grow cold one day...
Like an empty walnut it will roll along
in pitch-black space...
You must grieve for this right now
- you have to feel this sorrow now -
for the world must be loved this much
if you’re going to say, "I lived"...
Translated by Randy Basing and Mutlu Konuk
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Which we post mainly so that we don't lose this poem