|Hello Dear First U-
Today’s poem comes to us from famed Spanish poet Pedro Salinas. If we weren’t in the midst of a civil uprising for racial justice, I would take in these words and nod my agreement without much ado. The overarching message seems to be captured in the first and last lines…wake up, step into the new day. And in doing so step into simply living – being yourself – as the only mandate. Of course, we know that there’s a lot that goes into that simple-sounding instruction. Being authentic, living into the potential of our truest selves….this is hardly simple. A generally solid message.
Then I apply the poem’s message to today’s imperative that racial injustice be actively fought, and the message that culminates with “That is your fate: to live. Do nothing.” initially rings hollow to me. Surely there ARE things to be done and action IS required if desperately needed changes in our culture and our policing are to occur.
Then I look more closely at the poet’s words. Moving through line by line, he calls us to duty, to root out darkness in order to make way for the waiting light of dawn, to stand up, test your body’s metal, look at people, and to carry your life high.
And it’s this line that speaks to me the most:
hurl [your life]
like a voice to the clouds
so it may retrieve the light
already gone from us.
May we hurl ourselves into life like the voices of protest demanding “No justice, no peace” … whose cries ascend to the heavens, so that we may retrieve the light of justice for people of color that has been gone from us.
From this angle, the poet’s words become less and less hollow.
In faith and love,