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Kym so kindly reminded me yesterday, today is Poem in Your Pocket Day! She asked us to share our favorite poem. I could easily share with you two of my absolute favorites: Fog by Carl Sandburg or Joyce Kilmer’s Trees. But, today, I am hoping that the poem you put in your pocket changes you, wakes you, and engages you – and while these poems do that most certainly. Today, I am sharing something that does those things to me!

One of my absolute favorite poets is Pablo Neruda and I first became aware of him more than 20 years ago in the film Il Postino. And, so began my love of Neruda.

Die Slowly
Pablo Neruda

He who becomes the slave of habit,
who follows the same routes every day,
who never changes pace,
who does not risk and change the color of his clothes,
who does not speak and does not experience,
dies slowly.

He or she who shuns passion,
who prefers black on white,
dotting ones “it’s” rather than a bundle of emotions,
the kind that make your eyes glimmer,
that turn a yarn into a smile,
that make the heart pound in the face of mistakes and feelings,
dies slowly.

He or she who does not turn things topsy-turvy,
who is unhappy at work,
who does not risk certainty for uncertainty,
to thus follow a dream,
those who do not forego sound advice at least once in their lives,
dies slowly.

He who does not travel, who does not read,
who does not listen to music,
who does not find grace in himself,
she who does not find grace in herself,
dies slowly.

He who slowly destroys his own self-esteem,
who does not allow himself to be helped,
who spends days on end complaining about his own bad luck,
about the rain that never stops,
dies slowly.

He or she who abandon a project before starting it,
who fail to ask questions on subjects he doesn’t know,
he or she who don’t reply when they are asked something they do know,
die slowly.

Let’s try and avoid death in small doses,
reminding oneself that being alive requires an effort far greater than the simple fact of breathing.

Only a burning patience will lead
to the attainment of a splendid happiness.


There is my poem for your pocket today, Gentle Reader. As always on Thursdays, I am joining Carole where you just might find another poem or two as well!

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