To Die Slowly and to Live Fully

What does a life well lived look like? Conversely, what are the characteristics of one that is wasted and squandered away?

As I reflect more deeply on the meaning of life and death, I reviewed a Power Point presentation that my mother sent me recently of a poem attributed to Pablo Neruda, the Chilean poet who spent a portion of his life in exile, and who was also the subject of the wonderful movie, "Il Postino," in the mid-nineties, although some of my online research, disputed his authorship. Still, I was captivated by its message.

I read between the verses of "Muere Lentamente" or "Die Slowly," and discovered a manifesto for living one's life as fully and completely as possible. I offer it here, in an adapted translation, as the perfect "book end" companion to my recent entries...

Die Slowly

The one who becomes a slave to habit,
who follows the same routines every day,
who never changes pace,
and does not risk changing the color or style of clothing,
or who refuses to speak to strangers,
dies slowly.

The one who shuns passion,
who prefers black rather than white,
and never yields to a whirlpool of emotions,
the kind that makes eyes glimmer,
and turns a yawn into a smile,
and makes the heart burst with feeling,
dies slowly.

The one who does not turn things topsy-turvy,
who is unhappy at work,
who does not risk in the face of uncertainty
to follow a dream,
and does not forgo sound advice at least once,
dies slowly.

The one who does not travel,
who does not read,
who does not listen to music,
who does not find grace within,
dies slowly.

The one who slowly destroys his own self-esteem,
who does not permit others to help,
who spends days on end complaining
about bad luck,
and the rain that never stops,
dies slowly.

The one who abandons a project before starting it,
and fails to ask questions on subjects unknown,
dies slowly.

Let's try and avoid death in small doses,
reminding ourselves that being alive
requires an effort far greater
than the simple fact of of breathing.

Only a burning patience will lead
to the attainment of a splendid happiness.


Darla said…
Beautiful . . .

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