Hand To The Plow Poem by Ruy Belo

Hand To The Plow

Rating: 3.5

Happy the man who manages sadness wisely
and learns to divide it among the days
Though months and years pass it will never leave him

How sad it is to grow old on the doorstep
while weaving in our hands a belated heart
How sad to risk against human returns
the blue equilibrium of summer's sheer mornings
by the ocean that overflows with us
in the long farewell of our condition
It is sad to see in the garden the sun's solitude
reaching from the city's houses and din
to a distant hint of river
and the meager life meted out to us
It is sadder to have to be born and to die
and to have trees at the end of the street

It is sad to go through life as if
returning and to enter humbly into death by mistake
It is sad in autumn to conclude that summer
was the only season
The wind passed by in solidarity and we didn't see it
and we didn't know to go to the green depths
like rivers that know where to find the sea
and know which bridges which streets which people which hills to talk with
through the words of a forever uttered water
But what's saddest is to remember tomorrow's acts

It is sad to buy chestnuts after the bullfight
between sunday and the smoke on a november afternoon
and to have asphalt and many people for your future
and behind you a life with no childhood
looking back at all of this some time later
Day by day the afternoon dies
It is very sad to walk among God and be absent

But manage, poet, your sadness wisely

Translation: 1997, Richard Zenith

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