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The Essential by Alfonso Guillén Zelaya

By: Alfonso Guillén Zelaya

The essential is not to be a poet, or an artist, or a philosopher. The essential thing is that each one has the dignity of his work, the conscience of his work. The pride of doing things well, the enthusiasm of feeling temporarily satisfied with his work, of loving it, of admiring it, is the healthy reward of the strong, of those with robust hearts and clean spirits.

Within the sacred numbers of nature, no work well done is worth less, none is worth more. We all represent forces capable of creating. We are all something necessary and valuable in the progress of the world, from the moment we enter to fight the battle of the future.

The one who builds the tower and the one who builds the cabin; the one who sows ideas and the one who sows wheat; the one who weaves the imperial cloaks and the one who sews the humble worker’s suit, the one who makes the imponderable silk sandal and the one who makes the rough sole that protects the day laborer’s foot in the field, are elements of progress, factors of overcoming, fruitful and honorable expressions of work.

Within justice there can be no labor aristocracies. Within the laborious action we are all leveled by that regulatory force of life that distributes the gifts and drives activities. Only the iniquitous organization of the world stagnates and provokes the transitory failure of human effort.

He who sows the grain that sustains our body is worth as much as he who sows the seed that nourishes our spirit. Both are sowers and in the work of both there is something transcendental, noble and human “in vivo”: to expand and magnify life. Carving a statue, polishing a jewel, imprisoning a rhythm, animating a canvas, are admirable things.

Having a child and then cultivating and loving him, teaching him to bare his heart and live in tune with the harmony of the world, is also something magnificent and eternal. It has all eternity that can be conquered by conquering man, whatever his capacity may be.

No one has the right to be ashamed of his work, no one to repudiate his work, if he has put diligent affection and creative enthusiasm into it. No one envy anyone, that no one can give someone else’s gift. The only thing necessary is to fight so that the conditions of the world are conducive to all our fellow men and ourselves to make everything in them and in us flourish and bear fruit.

Envy is a rotten woodworm, never lush trees. Expand and raise each one his own, defending himself and fighting against the prevailing injustice, satisfaction and victory are in the battle. The sad, the bad, the criminal is the skinny of the soul, the parasite, the one incapable of admiring and loving, the immodest, the foolish, the fool, the one who has never done anything and denies everything, the one who obstinately and clumsily closes life its ways; but the one who works, the one who earns his bread and nourishes with his effort his joy and that of his family, the noble, the good, for that kind of man sooner or later the future will say his word of justice, already tally minds and chisel statues.

We have no right to feel down because of who we are. To be cast down is to perish, to let evil drag us unpunished into contempt, misery and death. We need to live fighting, without fainting or cowardice. That is our duty and that is the greatest glory of man. Let’s not curse, let’s not disdain anyone. That is not the mission of our species; but let us also not have the weakness to consider ourselves powerless.

Our humility should not be conformity, renunciation, or surrender, but greatness of our smallness that has the courage to feel useful and great in the face of the magnitude of the Universe. That is the spiritual summit of man.

Other works by Alfonso Guillén Zelaya

  1. Gold
  2. throw me on the path
  3. Earth and Dreamer
  4. Paul’s House
  5. New days will come
  6. I sing to Honduras
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