Since there is no escape, since at the end
My body will be utterly destroyed,
This hand I love as I have loved a friend,
This body I tended, wept with and enjoyed;
Since there is no escape even for me
Who love life with a love too sharp to bear:
The scent of orchards in the rain, the sea
And hours alone too still and sure for prayer—
Since darkness waits for me, then all the more
Let me go down as waves sweep to the shore
In pride, and let me sing with my last breath;
In these few hours of light I lift my head;
Life is my lover—I shall leave the dead
If there is any way to baffle death.
This poem reminds me of a few different things.
- Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night.” There is a definite lust for life and hatred of death in both of these poems.
- John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars”: that is, Bertrand Russel’s unyielding despair wearing a prom dress. As much as I admire John (I’d vote for him for President), I feel like he tries to have it both ways with this book. His characters claim a kind of intellectual superiority over the sentimental horde deluded by shallow inspirational quotes embroidered on decorative pillows but, at the same time, try to lay hold of a purpose and meaning to their existence—a purpose and meaning that their worldview precludes. Russel was at least honest about the ugly blunt reality that nothing can soften the terror of oblivion. Green wants us to believe that one can find meaning in teenage love despite the fact that the universe is destined to extinction and that none of the noon day brightness of man will be remembered by any sentient being.