Words of WonderWake Up. Day Calls You

Wake up. Day calls you
to your life: your duty.
Tear your body from the
black night and the shadows
that covered it, this body
for which light waited
on tiptoe at dawn.
Stand up, affirm the straight,
simple will to be
perfect, unbent purity.
Touch the temple of your body.
Is it hot? Cold? Your blood
will tell all against the snow
behind the window.
The color in your cheeks
will tell it too.
And look at the world. And rest
doing nothing more than adding
your perfection to yet another day.
Your task
is to raise life high,
to play with it, to throw it
like a voice into the clouds
so that it may receive the lights
that have already left us.
That is your fate: to live.
Do nothing else.
Your work is you, nothing more.

by Pedro Salinas y Serrano
Translated from Spanish by Paul Weinfield


This one, from the Spanish poet of a century ago, came to me at the end of a beautiful, cold evening with a beautiful and warm-hearted friend, as part of a hand-bound, carefully collated selection of poems for my birthday. What a gift!

The birthday, as well as caring for a dear friend in the last stage of his life, are both calls to wake up to the preciousness of this life, to live it fully, and to see what’s important. Fresh perspective on things that may not be such a big deal as they seemed, fresh imperative to ‘raise life high’. As Mary Oliver says in her poignant poem When Death Comes: I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world…

And how to do that, waking up? To me, it is a practice: a remembering again and again, a losing it and finding it. Luckily, there are new opportunities every day to wake up, as ‘day calls you to your life: your duty.’ How utterly wonderful.


PS If you’d like to join us in the practice of waking up to life, there are free daily practice sessions inviting you to rest in the freshness of the moment…

Photo by Zwaddi on Unsplash