Wednesday, June 15, 2011

We are the clumsy passersby

When words fail me (or I fail them), sometimes the only consolation is the realization that I will never approach the greatness of what's been said:
We are the clumsy passersby, we push past each other with elbows,
with feet, with trousers, with suitcases,
we get off the train, the jet plane, the ship, we step down
in our wrinkled suits and sinister hats.
We are all guilty, we are all sinners,
we come from dead-end hotels or industrial peace,
this might be our last clean shirt,
we have misplaced our tie,
yet even so, on the edge of panic, pompous,
sons of bitches who move in the highest circles
or quiet types who don't owe anything to anybody,
we are one and the same, the same in time's eyes,
or in solitude's: we are the poor devils
who earn a living and a death working
bureautragically or in the usual ways,
sitting down or packed together in subway stations,
boats, mines, research centers, jails,
universities, breweries,
(under our clothes the same thirsty skin),
(the hair, the same hair, only in different colors).

-Pablo Neruda


katy said...

what's so true about this poem is the mere fact that it was written when? and applies to today as if it were written tomorrow.

while the poem seeks out pessimism, my glass is half full of itself self can't help but be happy feeling after reading this poem. yeah, we're all the same... except for the persons who realize that we're all the same.

there's some level of nirvana seeking to this... we are all the same thirsty skin, but understanding that, knowing that, is the first leap towards happiness.

and look at him... the poet who stands out by fitting in.

cheers ashraf. a toast to normalcy and day jobs and vacations in chili and dinner with friends for your birthday.


Russell Ragsdale said...

Yes this is the voice that talks directly to me and so I listen so very intently. Thanks for putting this up Ashraf!