With a heavy heart, I confronted the Times’ news last week that “Argentina has finally hit the dreadful milestone of 100,000 coronavirus deaths” and “if death is a poem, the music of which can never be sung,” I remember the Argentine victims in terms of the poetry produced by writers who were able to express what it means to depart from this world. John Donne’s ‘Death be not proud’ comes to mind and it suddenly dawns on me that the grief Argentines feel is tempered with a strong feeling of pride for the loss of their loved ones.
However, I have decided that the poem that best describes our national megatragedy is Dylan Thomas’ ‘Do not go gentle into that good night,’ in which the Welsh poet tells his father to “rage against the dying of the light.” The poor infected Argentines who had fallen victims to the pandemic were too feeble in their intensive care beds “to rage,“but those who outlive them certainly feel that a lot of lives could have been saved and that the administration should be held accountable for the mismanagement of the pandemy.
The government did hold a candle ceremony in tribute to the deceased but the fact that the members of the bereaved families had not been allowed to attend lends little credence to their memorial. The music, the singing and the candles were not enough to validate the ceremony. Argentina’s victims will be remembered all the same when each one of us makes a pilgrimage to their graves where, without all the trappings of a state speech, we will be able to utter the simple words our loved ones wish to hear. Adrian Insaubralde,