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Wednesday 26 August 2009

How Could So Free A Spirit....

How could so free a spirit as Pablo Neruda be so espoused to Communism?

Now, you are mine. Rest with your dream inside my dream.
Love, pain, and work, must sleep now.
Night revolves on invisible wheels
and joined to me you are pure as sleeping amber.
No one else will sleep with my dream, love.
You will go; we will go joined by the waters of time.
No other one will travel the shadows with me,
only you, ever green, ever sun, ever moon.

Already your hands have opened their delicate fists
and let fall, without direction, their gentle signs,
your eyes enclosing themselves like two grey wings,
while I follow the waters you bring that take me onwards:
night, Earth, winds weave their fate, and already,
not only am I not without you, I alone am your dream.

How could a man who could write such utterly beautiful lines, and understand the need for individuality and individual choice and freedom so perfectly, align himself to a system designed to create conformity, lack of expression and lack of the freedom of the spirit to express itself?

I think this is an utterly beautiful poem and runs so contrary to everything that the starkness of Communism stands for. My images of Communist Russia as a child were of grey, dark buildings, long queues, empty shops, secret police forces and the oppression of those who had overthrown Tsardom in the name of freedom, only to bask in the Tsar's palaces and live as horrendous tyrants. I didn't take it on trust through the TV stations and newspapers in England, I looked into it by searching books in old libraries, finding interviews with people who lived in that system, trying to get beyond the propaganda of the West, to discover the truth. What I saw as a child shocked me! It shocked me most that ideals of 'freedom' in politics are invariably led by those who simply envy the wealth and power of others and want it for themselves. When power falls into the hands of such people, situations become really dangerous because most of us think, "Oh, it is one of our own....so he is bound to do the right thing..." never realizing that most of those who seek positions of power or to implement an ideal are in it for power alone. It shocks me more to hear the same lies being spouted by the same people with a need to control, but then as soon as I turn my eyes in a different direction and discover something as beautiful as this poem or see the simply divine animals going about their business, just chewing the grass and minding their own business, I am reminded of how the only power that tyrants have is that which is given to them when we believe in their power.

One of these days, I think, there will be a few so-called 'world-leaders' meeting on a stage a summit somewhere, deciding how the rest of us should live, and they will suddenly realize that no one is actually interested in what they are saying. The armies, the police forces, the council officials have all gone home to live their own lives and care for one another in their own communities, and those little boys on the world stage will look so very silly!

And I will still love this Pablo Neruda poem!

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