Well, Hello There! / "On Living"

Well, Hello There! - On Living

  • On Living
  • 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.
  • -- 1947, Nazim Hikmet; Translated by: Mutlu Konuk and Randy Blasing
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