This grand escape

The world has no meaning on its own. You may write all the poetry to it, you may make grand gestures of love to it, but it will remain indifferent. No matter how beautiful your songs are, how sad your woes are, existence remains meaningless.

Existence is meaningless. Hope is one way to escape it. You hope against the evidence of it all. You hope despite the question you keep visiting and revisiting again and again. Why? You ask as you commute to work, repeat familiar tasks, as you eat, as you return home to sleep like you did yesterday, and as you probably would tomorrow. You keep going without an answer, hoping stubbornly that the answer will be rewarded to you eventually; you hope even as you grow old; as you watch your parents die without ever getting the answer; as your children trace the same paths hoping that they will find an answer some day. You hope because, if you don’t, the only other answer apparent is not welcomed or even entertained by the masses. You hope because if you don’t, you must walk towards death and take that plunge; right?

No. Whether you choose to escape the reality of the meaninglessness of life through hope, or fear, you’re still running away. Be still. Look around. There is nothing to escape. Perhaps, you should run if life actually did have meaning. If that meaning was hostile to you, you would have to do nothing but run in order to escape it. But, in this meaningless world, you don’t have to hope or fear. You simply have to be. As for meaning; it is up to you to make it, if you want it that bad, that is. 

1915, Poems of life in the country and by the sea. Brown, Benjamin Francis. Columbus, Ohio via The Library of Congress and Sloan Foundation


Black is the colour of rest; of sleep. Of the eternal night that runs even in the thickest of the sun’s blaze. It is the bliss behind closed eyes. It is the colour of the mother. The safety of the unseeing, unjudging dark. Of warm graphite. Of earth that has nothing but nourishment to offer. It is the colour of the most liquid form of love. It is a degree of purity that only nothing can muster. It is one sacred truth in the process of unbecoming—unbecoming to make the bed of ashes that you wake upon, to a vast and beautiful knowledge of the beyond. It is the colour of nonbeing—of the moment just before the panther leaps from the unseeing silence; the moment when suddenly, everything becomes possible.

1925, Bewegungsstudie (Movement Study), Rudolf Koppitz. Gelatin silver print on carte-postale, printed c. 1930

A memory revisited on Independence Day

You signed on a piece of paper, 
swore on my sacred altar, 
and bowed to the earth I came from,
but, then you laughed.

You said your god is kinder
that he made us all equal
but, when I said I’ve already met her in the trees
you laughed.

You said my skin was blatant
my songs and dances absurd
but if I dressed and acted like you 
I could be forgiven.

But then, 
when I hated, like you, my own people,
and grew dead to my kinship with the rice flowers
you still kept me outside the door, and you laughed.

And there, on the other side, I wondered;
about you, your laugh, and your conscience;
and, about your tall house with a roof 
that stood afraid of the sky-fall.

But, I wouldn’t dare laugh at you.
and my rock, sand and water brain knew
that things move in cycles,
and, that’s good reason to fear the weather.

1868, Ceylon stamp; Ceylon Government.