March 15, 2009

your laughter

Filed under: manifesto,poetry,some of my favorite things — newritings @ 5:44 pm

On 22nd April 2009, South Africans go to the polls to vote and the climate of debate (in some quarters) is one of resignation, and even fear. One new-age pamphleteer emailed (bulk) a missive about why he won’t vote for a certain political party for the first time since the 1994’s “pyrrhic victory”. This unfortunate description comes from a clearly disappointed party member, and whilst this is not the space where I will engage the debate, suffice it to say, that the reason we engage in struggles with the working people and the poor, (the oppressed, if you like) is to rid us of exploitation and oppression and in its place build a more joyous, just and democratic society. This society we seek is one that work is but one of our activities that must contribute to our happiness, and where laughter, measured in decibels or on the Richter scale, will be our measure of our true well-being. Che was correct: revolutionaries must be guided by a true spirit of love. Fear in everyday life will have no space even in the shadows of the men with guns or machetes.

I have deliberately stayed away from ideological language which often obfuscates real meaning and thinking of what we are trying to say. I am reminded of the old joke that hails back to the  days of the Soviet Union, where a comrade was explaining the difference between a capitalist and a communist society.

“A capitalist society”, he said, “was a society where there is exploitation of people by people, and a communist society is the opposite of that”. There you have it. If we simply rely on big ideological terms or systems without getting to heart of peoples lives and daily politics, we could be talking past each other. We must build a society that changes values and relations between people fundamentally. It must make us better human beings – that related to each other in  the  true spirit of ubuntu. In a word, our social relations must bring out our innate humanity. And this will hopefully combat the excessive competitiveness, greed and waste,  resulting in more relaxed, happier people. So let’s start today or if you began yesterday or a while longer – continue.————-H———–

Let Me Say

Let Me SayAnd laugh today and every day.

Your laughter

Take bread away from me, if you wish,
take air away, but
do not take from me your laughter.

Do not take away the rose,
the lance flower that you pluck,
the water that suddenly
bursts forth in joy,
the sudden wave
of silver born in you.

My struggle is harsh and I come back
with eyes tired
at times from having seen
the unchanging earth,
but when your laughter enters
it rises to the sky seeking me
and it opens for me all
the doors of life.

My love, in the darkest
hour your laughter
opens, and if suddenly
you see my blood staining
the stones of the street,
laugh , because your laughter
will be for my hands
like a fresh sword.

Next to the sea in the autumn,
your laughter must raise
its foamy cascade,
and in the spring, love,
I want your laughter like
the flower I was waiting for,
the blue flower, the rose
of my echoing country.

Laugh at the night,
at the day, at the moon,
laugh at the twisted
streets of the island,
laugh at this clumsy
boy who loves you,
but when I open
my eyes and close them,
when my steps go,
when my steps return,
deny me bread, air,
light, spring,
but never your laughter
for I would die.

Poem by Pablo Neruda

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