Herbert Rivera Sanchez

(June 28,1956 / Mayagüez, Puerto Rico)

To Lie Still


To lie still and feel life pass me by,
to awake each morning feeling that I truly am alive,
to feel empathy for the strangers with no faces that I daily meet,
tobe able to find peace in the midst of my inner turmoil,
all of this and more I need to be whole once again.

Every deception, every lost freedom,
every misunderstanding and every death
builds a burden of pain and anguish
that slowly murders the soul;
then, the mind becomes just a robot
doing chores and saying things
that are unwilling reflexes of a spirit
waiting for the last ride
on the shores of the river Styx.

I know, deep in my self, that I need to rest,
to lie still and watch life come and go,
while I wait for a moment of truth
when I shall rise from the valley of shadows
to break away from the chains of self pity,
to be free from the power of hateful self criticism.
Only then will I be alive once again
while the faceless, nonexistent thing I have become
destroys itself in the presence of life.

Submitted: Saturday, April 20, 2013
Edited: Monday, September 30, 2013
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Poet's Notes about The Poem

This poem was written in 1997 and was published in a compilation called 'Best New Poems' in that same year.

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