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Some Advice To Those Who Will Serve Time In Prison Analysis



Author: poem of Nazim Hikmet Type: poem Views: 20

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If instead of being hanged by the neck

          you're thrown inside

          for not giving up hope

in the world, your country, your people,

          if you do ten or fifteen years

          apart from the time you have left,

you won't say,

              "Better I had swung from the end of a rope

                                              like a flag" --

You'll put your foot down and live.

It may not be a pleasure exactly,

but it's your solemn duty

           to live one more day

                         to spite the enemy.

Part of you may live alone inside,

             like a tone at the bottom of a well.

But the other part

          must be so caught up

          in the flurry of the world

          that you shiver there inside

      when outside, at forty days' distance, a leaf moves.

To wait for letters inside,

to sing sad songs,

or to lie awake all night staring at the ceiling

                   is sweet but dangerous.

Look at your face from shave to shave,

forget your age,

watch out for lice

              and for spring nights,

     and always remember

        to eat every last piece of bread--

also, don't forget to laugh heartily.

And who knows,

the woman you love may stop loving you.

Don't say it's no big thing:

it's like the snapping of a green branch

                              to the man inside.

To think of roses and gardens inside is bad,

to think of seas and mountains is good.

Read and write without rest,

and I also advise weaving

and making mirrors.

I mean, it's not that you can't pass

    ten or fifteen years inside

                        and more --

        you can,

        as long as the jewel

        on the left side of your chest doesn't lose it's luster!



                              May 1949





Trans. by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk (1993)






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