On waiting

I’m about to return to La Paz after my first visit to Peru. This has been a rich time and I should be able to post some photos and thoughts about it soon. For today, I simply want to share a poem that I’ve been reminded of in this time of Advent waiting. It was written by the great Brazilian pedagogue Paulo Freire in 1971, Spanish and English versions follow.

Canción Obvia

Escogí la sombra de este árbol para
reposar de lo mucho que haré,
mientras te espero.
Quien espera en la pura espera
vive un tiempo de espera vacío.

Por esto, mientras te espero,
trabajaré los campos
conversaré con la gente.
Sudará mi cuerpo, que el sol quemará;
mis manos se llenarán de callos;
mis pies aprenderán el misterio de los caminos;
mis oídos oirán más;
mis ojos verán lo que antes no vieron;
mientras te espero.
No te esperaré en la pura espera
porque mi tiempo es un
tiempo de quehacer.

Desconfiaré de quienes me digan,
en voz baja y precavidos:
Es peligroso hacer.
Es peligroso hablar.
Es peligroso andar.
Es peligroso esperar, en la forma en que esperas.
Porque esos niegan la alegría de tu llegada.
Desconfiaré también de quienes vengan a decirme,
con palabras fáciles, que ya llegaste,
porque ésos, al anunciarte ingenuamente,
antes te denuncian.

Estaré preparando tu llegada
como el jardinero prepara el jardín
para la rosa
 que se abrirá en la primavera.

Obvious Song

I chose the shade of this tree
to rest from all I will do
while I am waiting for you.
One who waits and only waits
lives out a time of waiting in vain.

Therefore, while I wait for you,
I will work the fields, and
I will talk with the people.
My body, burned by the sun, will sweat;
my hands will become calloused,
my feet will learn the mystery of the paths,
my ears will hear more,
my eyes will see what they did not see before,
while I am waiting for you.
I won’t await you only waiting,
for my waiting time is
a things-to-do time.

I will distrust those who shall come to tell me,
in whispers and cautiously,
“It is dangerous to act”
“It is dangerous to speak”
“It is dangerous to walk”
“It is dangerous to wait, the way you wait”
for they refuse the joy of your coming.
I will distrust those too who shall come to tell me,
with easy words, that you have come,
for these, as they naively herald you,
will first betray you.

I will be preparing your arrival
as a gardener prepares the garden
for the rose that shall open in the spring.


About Sarah

I serve with Presbyterian World Mission as liaison to the Andean region. This blog is a place to share stories, experiences, and observations, both my own and those of friends and colleagues and the occasional item of news.
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3 Responses to On waiting

  1. Liz and Bill Branch says:

    Sarah –
    Thanks for sharing this powerful poem. Many blessings of Advent and Christmas to you.
    Liz and Bill

  2. Linda Eastwood says:

    Thanks Sarah – A perfect poem for the season, and for always! Linda.

  3. Pingback: Faith in translation | Andean Journey

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