Allow me to share with you this beautiful poem by Pablo Neruda, which I found on one of the walls near San Francisco square in the historic heart of our dear Old Havana.
Someone was reading it when I found it. Wendy and I situated ourselves behind this person to see what they were reading. To my surprise, it was a poem by Neruda: one of those poems that makes us breathless when we read or recite it.
I did not hesitate an instant to share with my wife, in my own voice, the same poem that on that wall gave its letters to us; I know that when I recited it, I did so in my best voice. When I ended, we both looked at each other with the same conspiratorial, loving look we have shared since we first met.
The person that was in front of us, listening as I recited to my wife this poem that I share with you today, smiled at us.
It Is Forbidden
It is forbidden to cry without learning,
getting up one day without knowing what to do,
being afraid of your memories…
It is forbidden to not smile at your problems,
to not fight for what you want,
Abandoning everything to fear,
not converting your dreams into reality…
It is forbidden to not try to understand people,
to think that their lives are worth less than yours,
to not know that everyone has their own path and happiness…
It is forbidden to not create your history,
to not have a moment for people in need,
to not understand that what life gives you,
it can also take away…
It is forbidden to not look for happiness,
to not live your life with a positive attitude,
to not think that we can be better,
to not feel that without you, this world would not be the same…
Translated by: M. Ouellette
April 16 2012