‘Muere Lentamente’

Published 4:14 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2024

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Chris Quilpa

Have you set a date in your calendar for or have been procrastinating on a house project or repair that needs to be done? Or have you thought about or planned a family trip to a place you’ve never been before, and it’s just a matter of time and funding that hinders or prevents you from going or visiting? 

As they say, stop waiting; start living now — this present moment. You’ll be glad and grateful you did. Life in the present moment is precious. 

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As a student of life and literature, I’m inspired and challenged, which made me ponder and contemplate doing something positive besides writing this article after reading a simple but thought-provoking poem, ‘Muere Lentamente,’ in English, ‘You Start Dying Slowly.’ Purportedly written by Brazilian poet Martha Madeiros, it was originally attributed to 1971 Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda.

Born Ricardo Eliecer Naftali Reyes Basoalto (1904-1973), Pablo Neruda was a Chilean poet, diplomat, and politician who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971.

Considered the national poet of Chile, Neruda wrote various poetry styles like historical, surrealistic, political manifestos, and passionate love poems.

His poem “You Start Dying Slowly” captured my attention as I try to enjoy my golden years. What struck me most about this poem was its direct simplicity in stating what one can expect if one doesn’t do something to keep oneself busy while alive.

Neruda’s poem, ‘You Start Dying Slowly,’ starts with conditional phrases or statements using the conjunction ‘if.’

Have you considered doing, changing, or modifying something that can motivate or inspire you to get busy and productive while trying to enjoy or live your life to the fullest while alive and well?  

Do you see yourself experiencing any of Neruda’s situations? What do you think? What plan will you have, if any, to revive, enliven, and transform your life? 

How you should lead your life is the central theme of Neruda’s poem. Simply stated, it’s up to you how you live your life to the fullest, to be meaningful and worthwhile or worth living. If you want to leave a lasting legacy, a memorable life experience that’s worth sharing and remembering, just do it now and not later on. Who knows, that “later on” may not happen.

Neruda’s life experiences remind us of positive things that can help prolong our lives on earth. 

There you go, folks. Book or make your reservations now for your next trip or travel. Enjoy, be safe, and have a great time.