Month: Oct 2012
May I never have my knees securely underneath the feeble table of this present world (imagining it to be the only thing there is). May I never live without extreme adventure taking me to distant reaches way beyond where I have ever been before. May I, when dead, be found upon some dangerous ledge or farthest edge or mountain-top or molten rock; but most of all may I be found alone – integrity intact, uncompromised, repentant only of the many times I’ve been so foolishly sidetracked.
There are so many noble people in past history who I wish I had known. I love to read about them and imagine what it would be like to be their friend – more real than any friends I have today (and many times more faithful 😉. Right now, I am reading “A Defence of Poesy”, by one of these historical friends: the poet who created the English sonnet, Philip Sydney (1554-1586). These people were not merely writing poetry but creating a language. So many new words that we now regard as “everyday” were written by people such as this. I often feel that I was a poet in that era too – probably some troubadour who lived and loved with all his heart and then came to a sticky end. History repeats itself…
Philip Sidney lived for just 32 years but he did more in that short life than most people do in a life twice as long today. Hardly anyone has heard of him. Yet there are 2225 quotations from him in the Oxford English Dictionary. He invented many words and phrases (for English was still in it’s teenage at that time) such as “bugbear”, “dumb-struck”, “miniature”, “far-fetched”, “milk-white”, “honey-flowing”, “my better half”, “conversation” and many many more. Oh yeah! Those were the days! 🙂
I’ve taken off my useless coat and placed it on the frozen earth
in readiness for duelling with my stuttering future fate which,
as you might expect, was punctually late apparently because
a dalliance with some fair beguiling sweetly-smiling maids
plus all the after-bathes had stopped him in his grisly tracks
(at least that’s how the gossip-mongers falsified the facts).
As Autumn’s golden leaf-fall wake began
some two unveiling grieveful years ago;
the wind which blew devised a counterplan
and overturned your summer’s afterglow.
Just when you least expected such a call
(for until then your garden gaily grew)
a pale-faced cloaked intruder climbed the wall
and axed the tree which filled your field of view.
Almost everything which almost everyone does is designed to stave off any thoughts of one’s death (the only certainty in life). Our lives are but a brief continuous clumsy distraction from the inevitable. Yet, ironically, death is the only true liberation. (And there I don’t just mean physical death but metaphorical too). Facing death in the face, with a knowing smile, is the single most important thing we can do.