Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Mario Benedetti: In Defence of Joy

My life has been like a farce
My art has consisted
In this not being noticed too much
I've been as a levitator in my old age
The brown sheen of the tiles
Never came off my skin
The last poem written by Mario Benedetti
 The poetry of Uruguayan poet and social justice campaigner Mario Benedetti has appeared before (here) on this blog.

Benedetti who is among Latin America's finest poets was a political figure and a powerful voice for social justice  in his native Uruguay. He was pursued by the Uruguayan military junta in the 1970’s for his leftist writings and forced to live in exile  in Buenos Aires and Spain. He returned to Uruguay after the restoration of democratically-elected governments in the 1980’s. 

Benedetti died in Uruguay in 2009.

Mario Benedetti: In Defence of Joy

Defend joy as a trench
defend it from scandal and routine
from misery and miserable
from temporary absences
and from definitive ones.

Defend joy as a principle
defend it from wonder and nightmares
from neutrals and neutrons
from sweet infamies
and serious diagnoses

Defend joy as a flag
defend it from ray and melancholy
from neives and rogues
from rhetoric and cardiac attacs
from endemics and academics

Defend joy as a destination
defend it from fire and firefighters
from suicidal and homicidal
from vacations and burden
from the obligation of being happy.

Defend joy as a certainty
defend it from oxide and dirt
from the famous brushwork of time
from dew and opportunism
from pimps of laughter

Defend joy as a Right
defend it from God and winter
from capital letters and death
from surnames and sorrows
from chance
                        and from joy itself.

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