A death, the theoretic, and a poem …

My friend Jason Derr sent me this:

Over the weekend liberation theologian Rubem Alves – founder of the theopoetic – passed away. He was 80. His book ‘The Poet, The Warrior, The Prophet’ is a beautiful study on language, imagination and religion. I like to say that it is would have happened if Allen Ginsberg (beat poet, writer of ‘Howl’) were to write theology.

Here is Alves’ poem “Tomorrow’s Children”

What is hope?
It is a presentiment that imagination is more real
and reality less real than it looks.
It is a hunch
that the overwhelming brutality of facts
that oppress and repress is not the last word.
It is a suspicion
that reality is more complex
than realism wants us to believe
and that the frontiers of the possible
are not determined by the limits of the actual
and that in a miraculous and unexpected way
life is preparing the creative events
which will open the way to freedom and resurrection….
The two, suffering and hope, live from each other.
Suffering without hope
produces resentment and despair,
hope without suffering
creates illusions, naivete, and drunkenness….
Let us plant dates
even though those who plant them will never eat them.
We must live by the love of what we will never see.
This is the secret discipline.
It is a refusal to let the creative act
be dissolved in immediate sense experience
and a stubborn commitment to the future of our grandchildren.
Such disciplined love
is what has given prophets, revolutionaries and saints
the courage to die for the future they envisaged.
They make their own bodies
the seed of their highest hope.

Source: “Tomorrow’s Children” from Hijos de Maoana, by Rubem Alves.
Salamanca, Spain: Ediciones Sigueme, 1976.