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Nâzım Hikmet

“On Living

Living is no laughing matter:

You must take it seriously.

So much so and to such a degree

that, for example, your hands tied

behind your back,

your back to the wall

or else in a laboratory

in your white coat and safety glasses,

you can die for people –

even for people whose faces you’ve

never seen,

even though you know living

is the most real, most beautiful

thing.

I mean, you must take living so

seriously

that even at seventy, for example, you’ll

plant olive trees –

and not for your children, either,

but because, although you fear death you

don’t believe it,

because living, I mean, weighs heavier.”


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