The following is a profound thought that I grew up with. The words you’ll read are a translation of a beautiful poem by Italian comedian and actor Antonio De Curtis, better known with his nickname of Toto’. As individuals and leaders we really need to pause and think at what matters most and whether or not a title really makes a difference. Enjoy it!
Every year on the 2nd of November,
it is usual for the dead care, to go to the Cemetery.
Everyone should do this present;
Everyone should have this thought.
Every year, exactly on this day,
Of this sad and unhappy happening,
I go there too, and with some flowers I garnish
the grave stone of Auntie “Vincenza”.
This year an adventure has happened to me …
After completed the sad homage,
My God! I am still scared (if I think at it)
But then I got braveness.
The fact is the following, listen to me:
We were next to the closing time
When slowly slowly I was going out
Having a look at some graves.
“Here sleeps in peace the nobleman marquis,
lord of Rovigo and Belluno,
brave hero of 1000 enterprises,
dead on 11th of May 1931”
A Logo with a crown at the very top …
Below a cross made of bulbs;
Three bunch of roses with a mourning list …
Candles, Big candles and six little candles.
Very Next to the grave of this lord
There was another very little grave,
It was abandoned without any flower;
As a sign only a little cross,
And on the cross it was very difficult to read:
“Esposito Gennaro – Garbage Man”
I felt pain, looking at him …
This dead man without any candle.
“That’s life” – I thought in my mind. –
“Who has had a lot and who hasn’t had anything!”
“Was this poor man aware
that he was beggar at the other world too?”
While I was daydreaming to this situation,
It was nearby midnight,
And I was left closed and prisoner,
Dead and scared in front of the candles.
Suddenly what did I see in the distance?
Two shadows coming to me …
I thought: “This seems to be very strange …
Am I awake, sleeping or is it fantasy?”
It was not fantasy … it was the marquis:
With the walking stick, the monocle and the greatcoat;
Following him, you can see, the ugly badly dressed,
Stinker and with a broom in his hand.
“Yes, he is for sure Mr Gennaro.”
“The dead poor man … the garbage man”.
“This situation is very unclear: they are dead
and they come back at this time?”
They were about a palm away from me,
When suddenly the marquis stopped,
He turned and slowly slowly quiet quiet,
Told to Mr Gennaro: “Hey you…
I want to know from a so low swine like you
With what such a dare you have allowed
To bury your body, with my shame,
next a such titled like me!”
“Caste is caste and it should be respected!
You lost the sense and moderation;
Ok, your corpse had to be buried but
I think inside the garbage!”
“I cannot suffer
your stinky presence anymore
So it is necessary that you will find another grave
among your dear, among your similar”
” Mister marquis, It’s not my fault,
I had never made this wrong to you,
My wife made this foolish think,
What could I do if I was dead?
If I were alive I would make you happy,
I’d get my box with my four bones
and now, you know, just in this moment,
I’d go inside another grave.”
“So what are you waiting, filthy badly creature?
Do you want that my wrath reaches overflow?
If I hadn’t been a titled man,
I’d already be angry!”
“OK, I want to see … let’s take this violence…
You know, marquis, I am annoyed to listen to you
And if I lose my patience
I forget that I am dead and I’ll beat you!
Who do you think you are? A Lord?
Do you know that in this place we are all the same?
Dead are you and dead am I;
Everyone is equal to the others.”
“Bloody pig! How do you allow
to compare yourself with me that
had as my ancestors very revered, very nobles
and perfect to make regal princes envious?”
“But what Christmas, Easter and Epiphany!!!!
Do you want finally understand inside you brain
That you are still sick of fantasy?
Do you know what is death? It’s a spirit leveler …
A King, a Magistrate, A great man
coming through this gate has understood
that he has lost everything, life and the name also:
Hadn’t you already considered this?
So, listen to me … don’t be reluctant.
Suffer my presence close to you. Don’t you care about it!
This are jokes of alive people: We are more serious…
We belong to death.