POETRY Part I. La muerte y el vivir (Death and living) Art, philosophy, literature, our “Humanities”, what life do any of them have if they do not connect to and enrich the actual lives we live? But they never have a life of their own, they only come alive if you make them, where in the same movement they make you come alive. We have relationships with art, and with ideas, much like how we have relationships with people. Can you imagine just one person controlling the relationship? So how then can you imagine a writing, or an artwork, creating all the meaning for you? Maybe in science, maybe in math… but not everywhere, not in the Humanities, where you become aware of your own creativeness, of your own being. And so, our time now presents two ideas that can be useful to how we exist, and how we dream. The two ideas I have in mind are Death and Living, which aren’t necessarily opposites, if you can imagine that Death is a part of Life, its echo always haunts Life, and it is only fictionally separated from Life. So these two themes: Death and Living (or ‘how we live’) swirl around thoughts now. And of course, the maneuver of the Humanities is to connect what swirls around thought today to Eternity, to human history, so that we can imagine that we are not alone in our present, and we are not the first to step foot here – only the shoes we are wearing are new, but that’s just fashion. What I think to do here, in the first part of this lesson, is to present two creations – an image and a poem – that speak about Death and Living, imagining that they can give us a gift that can make our lives better. They are from long ago and far away, but maybe so are we. Be aware, dear students, that the representation of Death in art has nothing to do with Halloween, with horror movies, or with the sentiment of fear. To augment a person’s fear is a form of cruelty, which has no place here. Instead, Death represented in art has generally had the purpose of reminding the viewer of the precious value of Life, so as to say: ‘You will die one day, how then do you want to exist? What do you want to do with the time that you have?’ Death is invoked to remind us of Life’s value – not to be afraid of Death, but to appreciate Life. Here, look at this….