Living is no joke
you will live with a great seriousness
like a squirrel for instance
that is, not expecting anything except and beyond living
that is, all your work will be to live.
You will take living seriously
that is, to such an extent, so very much that,
for example, your arms bound behind you, your back to the wall
or, in enormous goggles,
in a white shirt in a laboratory,
you will die for people,
not only for people whose faces you’ve never seen
not only without anyone forcing you to it
but also despite knowing the most beautiful, most real thing
is to live.
That is, so seriously will you take living,
that in your seventies even, for instance, you will plant an olive tree,
not saying, “Let it be for the children” or some such talk
instead despite fearing dying not believing in death,
living, that is, from the pressure of its weight.
Say we’re sick in a bad way,
that is, there’s a good chance we will
not be getting up from the white table.
Even if we can’t help but feel the grief of an early departure
we will still laugh telling the joke about Bektaş
saying, is it raining, looking through the window,
or once more impatiently awaiting
the final news of the day.
Say there’s some things worth fighting for.
say, we’re at the front.
What’s more there in the first wave, what’s more that day
we may die face down in the mud.
With a strange bitterness we will know this
yet still madly we will dream
the war stretched on for years may someday end.
Say we are in prison
nearing fifty in age
even more so say it’s 18 years to the opening of the iron door.
Yet still we will live with the outside,
with its people, its animals, its struggle, its wind
that is, with the outside beyond the wall.
That is, no matter where and how we are
as if we would never die we will live.
This world will grow cold
one star among the stars
and one of the tiniest even
like a glittering speck in a field of purple velvet
that is, this vast world of ours.
This world will grow cold one day
Although not like a block of ice or a dead cloud
like an empty walnut shell it will tumble
in the pitch darkness without end.
Already the pain of this will be stirring,
the sorrow of it already felt.
Such is this world that will be loved
So you may say, “I lived”…