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‘You Start Dying Slowly’. Poem by Martha Medeiros which has been erroneously attributed to Pablo Neruda for a long time

‘You Start Dying Slowly’ – Photo by Pascal Maramis

‘You start dying slowly’A Morte Devagar

This beautiful poem ‘You start dying slowly‘, or slow death ( A Morte Devagar) was apparently not written by Pablo Neruda as frequently stated, but rather by Martha Medeiros

As the Latin American Herald Tribune writes: “Muere Lentamente” is the work of Brazilian writer Martha Medeiros, author of numerous books and reporter for the Porto Alegre newspaper Zero Hora, the Neruda Foundation told Efe.

Martha Medeiros poem is highly recognized and widely shared on the internet. You can find many authors and bloggers discussing and commenting on her profound thoughts. Worthwhile also to have a look at MyEnglishCoursebook where you can find a text analysis with questions and answers regarding the poem.

‘You start dying slowly’

You start dying slowly
If you do not travel,
If you do not read,
If you do not listen to the sounds of life,
If you do not appreciate yourself.

You start dying slowly
When you kill your self-esteem;
When you do not let others help you.

You start dying slowly
If you become a slave of your habits,
Walking everyday on the same paths…
If you do not change your routine,
If you do not wear different colors
Or you do not speak to those you don’t know.

You start dying slowly
If you avoid to feel passion
And their turbulent emotions;
Those which make your eyes glisten
And your heart beat fast.

You start dying slowly
If you do not change your life when you are not satisfied with your job, or with your love,
If you do not risk what is safe for the uncertain,
If you do not go after a dream,
If you do not allow yourself,
At least once in your lifetime,
To run away from sensible advice…

Martha Medeiros

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