On Living

Today I opened a storage room that hadn’t opened for a long time and found some boxes.  I opened the boxes, that had not been opened for an even longer time and found some tapes an journals.  I opened the journals, which might not have been opened since they were written in–and find I was much the same person twenty years ago as I am now–though perhaps better read than I recall being.

On October 22, in probably 1989 (I dated without years–I guess back then a year felt like a thing so big you would remember it) I copied this section of a poem I don’t remember reading, called “On Living” by Nazim Hikmet.


This earth will grow cold

a star among stars

and one of the smallest–

a gilded mote on the blue velvet, I mean

I mean this,  our great earth.

This earth will grow cold one day,

not like a heap of ice

or a dead cloud even,

but like an empty walnut it will roll along

in pitch black space…

you must grieve for this right now,

you have to feel this sorrow now,

for the world must be loved this much

if you’re going to say, “I lived.”