Beings of Light

La Voz de Galicia – July 1, 2022 →

Cristina PatoThis week, I was listening to the writer Francisco Castro talk about the poetic idea of «beings of light,» about «luminous people,» and for a couple of days, I thought about what it means to illuminate. I thought about the people who light up my life every day, and also about the things that provoke that same feeling in me: that novel, that poem, that walk, that conversation…And then I remembered The Last Romantic, a song by Lulu Santos (also made popular by Caetano Veloso), and I thought about the number of times that I have reflected upon its verses: «To illuminate life. Since death comes out of the blue.» I suppose because the idea of «illuminating life» has always made me think about the moment in which I found myself, always taking me out of my own labyrinth…

And it was then that I returned to that other text that I committed to memory, like a prayer, some time ago, because it possesses something intangible, possibly light. Borges’ poem The Righteous («Los justos»), where after enumerating a series of people doing things both quotidian and extraordinary, ends with the verses: «Those persons, unbeknown to one another, are saving the world.»

And this week, with all those dignitaries meeting in Madrid, with all those important people talking about the future and safety with bellicose language, one can’t stop reciting Borges. Because we know well that those who «save the world» are not precisely those at the top but all of us, every day, with our humble way of «illuminating life.» And what does it mean to «illuminate life»? Well, perhaps when asking that question, we could reflect on what is our responsibility in our small world, and simply with that (returning to Borges) we will be doing more for ourselves than those who say they do.

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