Twenty-Seven Candles

 Photo by Caridad at the Havana Book Fair 2009.
Photo by Caridad at the Havana Book Fair 2009.

By Esteban Diaz

At midnight on August 6th the clock announced that 27 years have flown by since I was born. I’ve never been big on birthday parties; maybe sharing time with friends, with comrades, and meeting new people has been my way of celebrating without rigid dates and the confines of miniscule moments in comparison to the 365 days in a year.

Although this last year came accompanied with the “personal success” of graduating from medical school; I am not as excited about my “honorable title” as most people are.

I think that my true personal success should be measured by my personal behavior and interactions with society, as well as my degree of active participation over the years; regardless of whether I am a doctor, carpenter, mason, street sweeper, factory worker, day laborer, teacher, or even an ice cream vendor.

I am lucky to have been able to attend university.  But since the majority of people on this earth do not have that opportunity, I think that workers of all types deserve the utmost respect and admiration-including those with no title-.

On a personal level I am not completely satisfied with my achievements.  Looking back, one can always find things they could have done better.  Even so, I am very enthusiastic about continuing to study in the “school of life” to the extent that my opportunities permit.

I send to our casual and not so casual readers, a poem by Bertolt Brecht:

Questions From A Worker Who Reads

Who built Thebes of the seven gates?
In the books you will find the names of kings.
Did the kings haul up the lumps of rock?
And Babylon, many times demolished
Who raised it up so many times? In what houses
of gold-glittering Lima did the builders live?
Where, the evening that the Wall of China was finnished
Did the masons go? Great Rome
Is full of triumphal arches. Who erected them? Over whom
Did the Caesars triumph? Had Byzantium, much praised in song
Only palaces for its inhabitans? Even in fabled Atlantis
The night the ocean engulfed it
The drowning still bawled for their slaves.

The young Alexander conquered India.
Was he alone?
Caesar beat the Gauls.
Did he not have even a cook with him?

Philip of Spain wept when his armada
Went down. Was he the only one to weep?
Frederick the Second won the Seven Year’s War. Who
Else won it?

Every page a victory.
Who cooked the feast for the victors?
Every ten years a great man?
Who paid the bill?

So many reports.

One thought on “Twenty-Seven Candles

  • That’s one of my favorite poems; the last verse is missing:

    ‘So many questions’.

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