Dust to Dust


I’m really not feeling morbid, but the well-examined life always includes thoughts of the end that comes to all, that final journey into the “undiscovered country.” My thought is always that it’s better to stare everything in the face than to be afraid and pretend. It just doesn’t change some things. Turns out we humans have been thinking about this for a long time. I also believe that we think about death, but then grab a bottle of wine, a pretty girl, and make love without care or regret. 

From an unknown Athenian.

c. 305 BC / Athens

When you’re moved to find out who you are,
study the graves you encounter as you pass by.
Inside rest the bones and weightless dust
of men once kings and tyrants, wise men, and those
who took pride in their noble birth or wealth,
their fame, or their beautiful bodies.
Yet what good was any of that against time?
All mortals come to know Hades in the end.
Look toward these to know who you are.

 

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7 Replies to “Dust to Dust”

  1. As you know, I am also-like you, very fond of ancient themes, especially ones deriving from beloved Greece. This ancient poem is stirring, and its existential wisdom is timeless. Your observations and thoughts are always a delight to read. Blessings to you.

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    1. Thank you for the kind words. I always enjoy your work, too, and am thrilled to hear that you are getting your sea legs under you. Like an Amazon. 🙂

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  2. I love what you wrote – it is so true and I do go to cemeteries to look at graves and get perspective…I see now that I should try grabbing a bottle of wine and a pretty girl… I haven’t done that in this life… I really kinda like men though. xo, J

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    1. Try grabbing a bottle of wine and a boy, then. 🙂 It might be the Midwesterner in me — we have a strong Calvinist streak in us — but pleasure for its own sake is not what attracts me. Nothing wrong with pleasure, but I’m more inclined to broaden my gaze and see it all. I’m not here just for me, after all.

      I find myself wanting to take it all in, the good and the bad, and squeeze as much meaning out of it as I can, like stomping grapes to make wine. Life is all we have, and grabbing love while we can, and leaving some happiness and friends in our wake in the face of the terrible things is the kind of courage that is accessible to every person, I think.

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