|Otto René Castillo was a Guatemalan revolutionary and poet. He was executed by the Guatemalan Army on March 19, 1967. This is a linguistic, cultural and temporal translation of his poem Intelectuales Apoliticos.|
the apolitical intellectuals
of our land
will be interrogated
by the poorest of people.
They will be asked what they did
while their community
like a sweet fire, small and alone.
No one will ask them about their fashion sense,
or their long lunches at the faculty club.
No one will want to know about their absurd
attempts to discover "the meaning of it all."
No one will care about or even understand
their economic outlook for
"the current recession."
They will not be questioned on
nor their new age remedy for
feelings of alienation.
They'll be asked nothing about their
post-modernist justifications for apathy, concocted as self-serving lies.
On that day the simple folk will come.
Those who had no place in the
papers, books and poems of
the apolitical intellectuals,
but who produced their
food and clothes, built
their homes and cars,
who cleaned their
offices, raised their children, and cooked
and they'll ask:
"What did you do when the poor
suffered, when tenderness and
life burned out in them?"
you will not be able answer.
A vulture of silence
will eat at your guts. Your own misery
will pick at your soul.
And you will be mute
in your shame.