Sharing #2…

pablo 2

In honor of Pablo Neruda – my favorite poet. Some of the most romantic poems I’ve ever read are written by him. Neruda wrote in a variety of styles such as erotically charged love poems as in his collection Twenty Poems of Love and a Song of Despair, surrealist poems, historical epics, and overtly political manifestos. In 1971 Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez once called him “the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language.” Neruda always wrote in green ink as it was his personal color of hope.

Neruda was hospitalized with CANCER at the time of the Chilean coup d’état led by Augusto Pinochet. Three days after being hospitalized, Neruda died of heart failure. Already a legend in life, Neruda’s death reverberated around the world. Pinochet had denied permission to transform Neruda’s funeral into a public event. However, thousands of grieving Chileans disobeyed the curfew and crowded the streets.

Take bread away from me, if you wish,
take air away, but
do not take from me your laughter.

Do not take away the rose,
the lance flower that you pluck,
the water that suddenly
bursts forth in joy,
the sudden wave
of silver born in you.

My struggle is harsh and I come back
with eyes tired
at times from having seen
the unchanging earth,
but when your laughter enters
it rises to the sky seeking me
and it opens for me all
the doors of life.

My love, in the darkest
hour your laughter
opens, and if suddenly
you see my blood staining
the stones of the street,
laugh, because your laughter
will be for my hands
like a fresh sword.

Next to the sea in the autumn,
your laughter must raise
its foamy cascade,
and in the spring, love,
I want your laughter like
the flower I was waiting for,
the blue flower, the rose
of my echoing country.

Laugh at the night,
at the day, at the moon,
laugh at the twisted
streets of the island,
laugh at this clumsy
boy who loves you,
but when I open
my eyes and close them,
when my steps go,
when my steps return,
deny me bread, air,
light, spring,
but never your laughter
for I would die.

Pablo Neruda (1904-1963)




Ashley (left) and Jena

Ashley (left) and Jena

A year ago today, I lost my older sister Jena. At the young age of 29, breast cancer took her life. There are no words to describe the emotions that arise when a disease shatters your loved one’s reality with no explanation. But Jena taught me so much through her determination and courage during her fight against breast cancer.

Jena showed me – and so many others – that even in the midst of hardship and suffering there is still potential to witness generosity and compassion. She allowed me to recognize that real change can happen by one person deciding to lend support in any way that they can; because even a small act of kindness has the ability to generate an incredible feeling of hope.

Inspired by Jena’s example I found comfort, healing, and empowerment by making a recurring monthly donation in her memory to Komen Philadelphia. By continuing my sister’s legacy in this way, I know that I am allowing her story to motivate action and aid survival in the fight against breast cancer.

Please join me by giving now to help bring more hope to families touched by breast cancer.

Remember, you do have the power to make an impact! On behalf of Komen Philadelphia, my sister, Jena, and for all women and men who will find hope in your kindness, I thank you.

With sincere gratitude,

Ashley Furlong

Written for #Moving Forward With Yinka