Today, on Facebook, I did as I do on occasion – I shared someone’s post. A poem attributed to Pablo Neruda that resonated with me, a poem about how we are dying slowly. In my original post, there was a misplaced apostrophe that bugged me. But not enough not to repost. I parked the anal me because I wanted to others to read it. And learn from it. And take note. So I hit the share button.
Within minutes, I had a message from a mate telling me that it was incorrectly attributed. Along with the original. Maybe the Pablo Neruda version is a rework of the original by Martha Medeiros? I don’t know. But I do know that I’ve read it and read it and read it again and I like it more with each reading. I like it enough to share.
by Martha Medeiros
He who becomes the slave of habit,
who follows the same routes every day,
who never changes pace,
who does not risk and change the color of his clothes,
who does not speak and does not experience,
He or she who shuns passion,
who prefers black on white,
dotting ones i’s rather than a bundle of emotions,
the kind that make your eyes glimmer,
that turn a yawn into a smile,
that make the heart pound in the face of mistakes and feelings,
He or she who does not turn things topsy-turvy,
who is unhappy at work,
to thus follow a dream,
those who do not forego sound advice at least once in their lives,
He who does not travel,
who does not read,
who does not listen to music,
who does not find grace in himself,
she who does not find grace in herself,
He who slowly destroys his own self-esteem,
who does not allow himself to be helped,
who spends days on end complaining about his own bad luck,
about the rain that never stops,
He or she who abandons a project before starting it,
who fails to ask questions on subjects he doesn’t know,
he or she who doesn’t reply when they are asked something they do know,
Let’s try and avoid death in small doses,
reminding oneself that being alive requires an effort far greater than the simple fact of breathing.
Only a burning patience will lead to the attainment of a splendid happiness.
Today, I’m grateful that I pushed the button. Had I not, I might never have known Martha Medeiros. I’m grateful for the reminder that life is for living. And I’m so grateful that the Martha’s original didn’t have a stray apostrophe.