Tuesday Poem: Blaga Dimitrova, 'Write each of your poems / as if it were your last.'

Ars Poetica

Write each of your poems

as if it were your last.

In this century, saturated with strontium,

charged with terrorism,

flying with supersonic speed,

death comes with terrifying suddenness.

Send each of your words

like a last letter before execution,

a call carved on a prison wall.

You have no right to lie,

no right to play pretty little games.

You simply won't have time

to correct your mistakes.

Write each of your poems,

tersely, mercilessly,

with blood – as if it were your last.

© Blaga Dimitrova (1922-2003)

We live in terrifying times; a burning, violent world led by self-serving billionaires who care little for the environment or for ordinary individuals. Political Activism often seems the only meaningful response we can make to the 'Game of Thrones' they play (with all its medieval butchery). As a poet and author I often wonder whether it's worth writing anything when the future is so uncertain and life so fragile. But then I read this poem and think, yes, it is! And there was never a more important time for writers and poets to make their voices heard - to obey the command:  'Send each of your words / like a last letter before execution'.

Dimitrova was a Bulgarian poet, but also Vice-President of Bulgaria from 1992-93.  She was deeply political and even inspired a short story by John Updike, published in the New Yorker,  called ‘The Bulgarian Poetess’.   

 'Ars Poetica' appears in Scars, selected and translated from the Bulgarian by Ludmilla G. Popova-Wightman. Ivy Press. Translation copyright by Ludmilla G. Popova-Wightman.) Source Washington Post.  Available from Amazon.com  


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