Whispering Eternity #6

Day 6.

If university taught me anything it taught me that nothing in this life is fixed. Time passes and so do friends, family and everything else in the universe. Change is a law of the universe. Nothing stays the same. Change is a law that governs our existence and the whole cosmos comes under its law. All my school friends had gone from my life, my father had died and so even at this young age my life had already become a waltz in the arms of nostalgia. My life was full of emptiness.

The nature of man is such a paradox of preoccupation with emotions, passions and drives that he is always failing to find the essence of life itself. While longing for the future, we cling tenaciously to the past. We hold the pieces, but God holds the picture.

Do you find that the lessons of life are often painful? I found that out early. I came back from a semester break and was going to my first lecture of the term. I couldn’t find my good friend Jim – he was my Chemistry lab partner and a drinking buddy. I asked somebody “where’s Jim, have you seen him?” I was informed that Jim had been killed in a car crash the week before. I am not ashamed to admit it but I went back to my room and wept bitterly. Not just for Jim but for myself and for the realization that my life was as transitory as his. I thought about his fiancée, Chrissie, and the life that should have been theirs. I sat on the bed and wrote a poem as I often did in those days. As I look at it now it’s not a particularly good poem but I will share it with you to demonstrate what was going on in my life and mind. I was 18. The short sentences were meant to represent the fact that I was crying, sobbing.

28/8/72 JIM DE DENNE

Chrissie what now
What of life?
I can’t believe Jim is dead
I can’t believe he would
He has no reason.

His now wordless friendship
leaves me in solitude.
My future grows steeper
Harder to hold onto.
After all
What use is knowledge
What use is life
When it may be taken
After so short a vertigo.
There was a use
But now who can say
What it is.
the night travels toward the dawn.
Every instant;
And still we live.
In the vespers of time
So many questions
Never the answer
Oh Why!
Oh Why!

His eyes were fixed upon the horizon.
Thinking of adventures,
Of life,
No promises
Nothing definite.
But he lived
And loved
And was loved.
What of you now Chrissie
You loved him
You were to marry
But now you marry a memory,
And the cloud sets on your horizon,
The light is dying.
The twilight has no promises for you either.

We used to go to the pub
We used to laugh
And enjoy life.
We used to talk:
Of you
Of life
We enjoyed life.
What a friend
Friendship is something true.
It elevates
and makes a man
Feel important.
This is so painful
So savage.
Nature seems to use pain
As the chief material of life.
She transforms it from
Love and ambition
From Friendship
From Life.

A philosophy so sorrowful.
Inspired by what:
I don’t know.
But it can make me appreciate my life
Because it hasn’t yet ended.
But Chrissie
Jim has gone.
And you must adopt
A philosophy of sorrow………….

Chrissie and I spoke a few days later. She sat on my bed in my dormitory room and read my poem. We both cried. We talked; I gave her a copy of the poem. She left and I have never ever seen her since that day. 50 years have passed. Change is a law of the universe! Pain indeed seems to be a chief material of life.

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