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Some Advice To Those Who Will Serve Time In Prison

 If instead of being hanged by the neck
 you're thrown inside
 for not giving up hope
in the world, your country, your people,
 if you do ten or fifteen years
 apart from the time you have left,
you won't say,
 "Better I had swung from the end of a rope
 like a flag" --
You'll put your foot down and live.
It may not be a pleasure exactly, but it's your solemn duty to live one more day to spite the enemy.
Part of you may live alone inside, like a tone at the bottom of a well.
But the other part must be so caught up in the flurry of the world that you shiver there inside when outside, at forty days' distance, a leaf moves.
To wait for letters inside, to sing sad songs, or to lie awake all night staring at the ceiling is sweet but dangerous.
Look at your face from shave to shave, forget your age, watch out for lice and for spring nights, and always remember to eat every last piece of bread-- also, don't forget to laugh heartily.
And who knows, the woman you love may stop loving you.
Don't say it's no big thing: it's like the snapping of a green branch to the man inside.
To think of roses and gardens inside is bad, to think of seas and mountains is good.
Read and write without rest, and I also advise weaving and making mirrors.
I mean, it's not that you can't pass ten or fifteen years inside and more -- you can, as long as the jewel on the left side of your chest doesn't lose it's luster! May 1949

Poem by Nazim Hikmet
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