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Responsum

A friend sent me this poem by Mario de Andrade. It is clearly a poor translation, but it is lovely still, and I feel myself agreeing with the sentiment--until I don't.


MY SOUL HAS A HAT

I counted my years
and realized that I have
Less time to live by,
Than I have lived so far.

I feel like a child who won a pack
of candies: at first he ate them with pleasure
But when he realized that there was little left,
he began to taste them intensely.

I have no time for endless meetings
where the statutes, rules, procedures
& internal regulations are discussed,
knowing that nothing will be done.

I no longer have the patience
To stand absurd people who,
despite their chronological age,
have not grown up.

My time is too short:
I want the essence,
my spirit is in a hurry.
I do not have much candy
In the package anymore.

I want to live next to humans,
very realistic people who know
How to laugh at their mistakes,
Who are not inflated by their own triumphs
& who take responsibility for their actions.
In this way, human dignity is defended
and we live in truth and honesty.

It is the essentials that make life useful.
I want to surround myself with people
who know how to touch the hearts of
those whom hard strokes of life
have learned to grow with sweet touches of the soul.

Yes, I'm in a hurry.
I'm in a hurry to live with the intensity
that only maturity can give.
I do not intend to waste any of the
remaining desserts.

I am sure they will be exquisite,
much more than those eaten so far.
My goal is to reach the end satisfied
and at peace with my loved ones
and my conscience.

We have two lives
& the second begins when you realize
you only have one.

---------------------------------------------

Responsum (to Mario de Andrade, among others)

I doff my hat to all dogs, to their people,
to the minimally useful and marginally alive,
dreamers and destitute, braggarts and hurt.
It is hard to know who is who.

And I talk. It is what we need more of:
doffing and talking. Not that there is anything
to be said, besides: I am here. You are here.
Hello. Hello.

I'm old, it is time to take time.
Running is what you do when you're young, after
love and money, things to have, places to see,
dogs to own, and candy. And truth.

What should the old run after? There is only one thing,
and I'm in no hurry. You can't take it with you.
Be kind. Forget what you know, sit still,
open your heart like a wound.

I would like to die like a piece of paper
left in a meadow, its corners slowly uncurling
its edges fading into the ground, grass growing through,
dogs having a pee.

I have a long way to go, I may not get there.
But I'm just saying.




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