The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Thursday


On Living
By Nazim Hikmet
Translated by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk


I

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:
	you must take it seriously,
	so much so and to such a degree
   that, for example, your hands tied behind your back,
                                            your back to the wall,
   or else in a laboratory
	in your white coat and safety glasses,
	you can die for people--
   even for people whose faces you've never seen,
   even though you know living
	is the most real, the most beautiful thing.
I mean, you must take living so seriously
   that even at seventy, for example, you'll plant olive trees--
   and not for your children, either,
   but because although you fear death you don't believe it,
   because living, I mean, weighs heavier.

II

Let's say we're seriously ill, need surgery--
which is to say we might not get up
			from the white table.
Even though it's impossible not to feel sad
			about going a little too soon,
we'll still laugh at the jokes being told,
we'll look out the window to see if it's raining,
or still wait anxiously
		for the latest newscast. . . 
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.

III

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 earth will grow cold one day,
not like a block of ice
or a dead cloud even 
but 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'. . .


--------

I suppose that johnxjohn was inevitable. They don't quite ring my bells the way Clinton/Gore did (I mean, the Kirk/Spock parallels were so obvious there) but it is good to see Kerry smiling so much. </perversion>

Based on the lj interests lists of those who share my more unusual interests, the interests suggestion meme thinks I might be interested in:
1. writing score: 57
2. reading score: 40
3. mythology score: 40
4. music score: 39
5. art score: 37
6. poetry score: 36
7. photography score: 34
8. movies score: 30
9. fantasy score: 27
10. books score: 26
11. hiking score: 24
12. sex score: 23
13. paganism score: 22
14. anime score: 21
15. coffee score: 21
16. history score: 21
17. philosophy score: 19
18. witchcraft score: 19
19. camping score: 19
20. psychology score: 18

Type your username here to find out what interests it suggests for you.

coded by ixwin
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Interesting how many of these are interests implied by the interests I do list, being broader versions of things I have down already. I've tried not to put anything so general as "poetry" or "writing" on my list as I figured those would be obvious to everyone, but to put more eclectic things, in the hope of finding others interested in those. I have not, however, put on the really eclectic things that no one else on LJ shares, because no one is going to find those as common interests. Perhaps I should, so if other people put them down they won't take them off based on the same feeling of being alone.

Think it's true that New Line is going to release the ROTK EE in the theaters before the DVD? I wonder whether I will go. My kids will want to go. I certainly will not go on opening day -- will want a full spoiler report before I buy a ticket, so I know whether it would be the happiest $10 I ever spend or the most wasteful.

Am mostly recovered from stomach flu, though still taking it easy. And I'm seeing psu_jedi today for the first time in neither of us can even remember how long, so am very happy about that!
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