Friday, October 30, 2009

Paulo Freire Poem

I found this incredible poem in Freire's book Daring To Dream: Toward a Pedagogy of the Unfinished, published by Paradigm Publishers in 2007

"Some time after his arrival
the foreigner said to the men in the valley
one dusking afternoon:
Thus far I have spoken to you only
of the songs of birds and
of the tenderness of the dawns.
It was necessary to undertake with you some
fundamental learning:
to feel out the uncertainty of tomorrow,
living out the negation of myself,
through a work that is not our own.
Only so, speaking to you would be a form of
speaking with you.
Now I can tell you:
We do not believe in those who proclaim
that our weakness is a gift from the Gods,
that it is in us as the fragrance in the flowers
or the dew in the mornings.
Our weakness is not the ornament
of our bitter lives.
We do not believe in those who state,
in hypocritical intonation,
that life is really like this
-a few having so much,
millions having nothing.
Our weakness is not a virtue.
Let us pretend, however, that we do believe
in their discourse.
It is important that not a gesture of ours
reveal our true intention.
It is important that they leave happy in their lie,
certain that we are things of their own.
We need time
to prepare our own discourse
that will shake up the mountains and valleys,
rivers and oceans
and that will leave them stunned and fearful.
Our different discourse
-our action-word-will be spoken
by our whole bodies:
our hands, our feet, our reflections.
All within us speak
a life-bearing language
-even the instruments that
our hands will use,
when, in communion, we
shall transform our weakness
into our strength.
Poor us, however, if we cease to speak
simply because they can no longer lie.
Therefore, I tell you:
Our liberation discourse
Is not the medicine for a passing illness.
If we go silent as the present lies quiet down,
new lies will appear,
in the name of our liberation.
Our different discourse
-our action-word-
As a true discourse
will be made and remade;
it never is or will have been,
because it will always be being.
Our different discourse
-our action-word-
must be a permanent one."

-Paulo Freire
April 1971

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