Friday, 28 November 2014

"Ahora contaremes doce

y nos quedamos todos quietos..." thus begins one of the poems by Pablo Neruda.
       "Now we will all sit still and count to twelve" is the way it is translated in "Extravagario" - the English version I have.
It is both a contemplation and a command.
There have been some deaths recently. The death of the cricketer Phillip Hughes at the age of 25 has made headlines around the sporting world. He was young, too young. It was a freakish accident and I would feel saddened for him and his family, Sean Abbott (the young bowler who bowled the ball which struck him) and his team mates whether they were professionals or amateurs.
A young boy has died in the US - apparently shot because he was carrying a toy gun that looked too realistic and was confused with the real thing.
PD James has died. She was 94. People will say she had a long and productive life. She was one of those highly intelligent people who had an acerbic wit and a capacity for hard work. The Senior Cat is currently reading the last book she wrote. When I told him he gave a small smile and said, "A good life." Yes, it probably was.
There has been another death here that has, curiously, gone almost unnoticed - that of a former politician in this state. Heather Southcott famously managed to retain a seat for "the Democrats" in my local electorate - at a time when everyone was sure the seat would fall to another party. Like many current and former politicians she was involved in many other things as well. She was ill for some years before her death and perhaps her departure from the public scene has meant there has been no real mention of her in the media. She was also in her 80's. People will no doubt say she had "a good life".
Of course there have been many other deaths as well - of people old and young. Many will go barely noticed except by those immediately around them. Others will still say that some of these people had "a good life".
I wonder what "a good life" really is it achieving what we want to achieve, is it "winning", is it doing things for others - or doing no harm - or making a mark on the world in some other way? Or is it, just sometimes, the ability to do what Neruda contemplates and commands? Can we just sit still for a short while and count to twelve and marvel at life itself?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A good life ... a collection of mostly pleasant memories made for others ... and yourself.