Prompt for RWJ, Prompt 251

Hey guys, it’s World Poetry Day. So have you steeped yourself in a poem? Have you written a poem? Is there time enough left? I almost did not. But pulled up my socks
at the last minute.

Poetry has power, has it not? It is prized because it articulates our soul, our collective soul and individual souls. It is soulful. What are we but souls, you tell me? And if we’re souls, then there’s the overhanging question–what is the afterlife? What is God? It’s all our hearts bleed about. Then there’s love, but that’s a whole other story. Or is it?

I’ll leave you to read a poem then, if you didn’t manage to write a poem…about the afterlife or whatever. It’s from a book of poems I’m currently reading by an amazing Argentinian poet.

Dream On Fearlessly, Friend
by Julio Cortazar

Our heart would have little left if we took away its poor
hand-held night where it plays at having a home,
food, hot water,
and a movie Sundays.
We have to leave it its little vegetable garden,
since we took away its angels, those gilded paintings,
and most of the books it liked,
and the satisfaction of believing in something.
We cut the hair of its grief,
trimmed the nails of its feasts, the eyelashes of its dreams,
we toughened it, made it good and funky,
so the cat won’t eat it
and the ladies from Accion Catolica
won’t come looking for it in between prayers.
So that’s that: its aches
won’t even send a goodbye card,
we fashioned it in the image of its time and it knows as
much.

Fair enough, but leave it a little
of what’s left over when we tie
our well-shined everyday shoes;
a little starlit square, some colored pencils,
and that pleasure in stooping to get a good look at a toad
or a blade of grass
for no reason, for the pleasure of it,

at precisely the moment of Hiroshima
or the government in Bonn
or the Viet Minh offensive
in Vietnam.

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