Value People While They're Alive
by Jabir Novruz (1933 - 2002)

I have a wish, hey people, let me tell you.
Value the people while they're alive,
Call the good people, "good" while they're alive,
Call those who are bad, "bad" while they're alive,
And only while they're alive.

Everybody knows the real value of themselves
If I'm wrong, reproach me,
I beg you a million times
Value the poets while they are alive.

Erect monuments for immortals while they're alive.
Don't rely entirely on the future.
Don't save your words for the future.
I hate the "futures",
I hate untimely actions,
I hate gossipers and babblers,
I hate when the drums are played after the party is over.

Make happy the honest people while they are alive,
Live with this aim in life.
Unmask the dishonest ones while they are alive.
Call traitors by their names,
Call the cunning ones, "foxes",
Call the brave ones, "lions",
Value the people while they're alive.

Let everybody know their place while they're alive.
This will shorten the life of the bad,
And lengthen the life of the good.

Why are our hearts filled with love and respect
Only after a person is dead?
Why do the good become good only after they're dead
As do the bad.
Even dishonest ones become honest.
Even strangers become dear to us.

We remember them.
We write tributes,
We call them all "good" and see them off to the afterlife.
What's this belated blessing for?
Will the grave become larger?
Or the dead one revive?

I don't like these outdated traditions.
I don't like this love for tombs,
I don't like this kind of respect,
I don't like it
I don't want this untimely honor,
I'd never change one moment of my life
For thousands of golden deaths.
I'd never change one ounce of respect while alive
For thousands of tombs when I'm dead.

If I'm wrong, please forgive me,
I address both old and young alike.
Value people while they're alive.
Call the good, "good" while they're alive,
Call the bad, "bad" while they're alive.

Translated by Aytan Aliyeva and Aydan Najafova

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