Sunday, 04 April 2021 13:54

How is it…

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After all the years that have passed, nearly forty to be exact, I open the top draw of my desk and find this poem by Ernest Dowson? Mr. Dowson lived from 1867 to 1900. The poem was paper clipped together with papers from my days in high school. There were various football plays and formations, and this poem. Why did I keep it all these years?

Vitae Summa Brevia Spem Nos

Vetat Incohare Longam

They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,

Love and desire and hate:

I think they have no portion in us after

We pass the gate

They are not long, the days of wine and roses;

Out of a misty dream

Our path emerges for a while, then closes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Within a dream.                       

The translation of the title is “The brief sum of Life denies us the hope of enduring long,” but after all these years of joy and pain, trials and epiphanies both before and after our beloved son Quinton’s transition; the title takes on a more nuanced context.

Within the first quatrain, what grabs my attention is the concept that we exist beyond the flesh, existing after crossing the threshold. Going a bit deeper still, the acknowledgement that the emotions, especially hate, are not carried forward. As you would expect, this coincides with what Quinton has shown us and continues to show us; furthermore, this coincides with what the multitudes are being shown after the transition of their loved ones.

Within the second quatrain and the title of poem for that matter, I am touched by the brevity of the individual lifetime. Our time here in the physical realm has, time and time again, been described as the blink of an eye in “Heaven” or as a non-physical being. Additionally, our time here has been described as a dream by many and here the concept is again within a poem penned in 1896 and first published in 1900.

Again, why do I still have this in my desk? This is a rhetorical question as naturally, at this point, the answer is known. This path, my journey of this lifetime, was all along meant to include these concepts and more so, delve deeper into them. Over my years I have read so much across genres from nearly everything Stephen King, dozens and dozens of book on Spirituality, the Bible and books on religion, and books about my ethnicity. I have spent years lost in reading, only to stop after seemingly read it all only to find I was wrong. I have not read it all and moreover, am still learning.

While I continue to learn, I can’t help but be weighed down on the meaninglessness of the “news” and the endless box checking exercises endured to earn income. Furthermore, some within my circle have drawn my attention back to the caste system in our own country that permeates so much. I am reminded of my Blackness (I am nearly the only one who knows other than family); books like The New Jim Crow and The Warmth of Other Suns (and two more in the queue to read) weigh heavy on my soul in the matter of fact telling of what has been and what is…. Okay, big breath: in with the good and out with the rest.

Now is the time to lean into my Spiritual lessons imparted by Quinton. We understand the school house. The passion and beauty abounds everywhere while the absurd is so absurd that its purpose is exposed. Again and again, we get to choose – high road or low road; we get to choose to be part of the solution or part of the problem. But let us not forget, of the world’s population currently 7,856,829,495 and counting, most of “us” are good even though some would have us think otherwise.

Our time here is fleeting and the hour grows late. I will endeavor the make the most of it. The absurd is so absurd, the only choice I have now is to pray and meditate. J Yup, I can be stubborn as I sit and smile; this should have been my first choice all along.

I leave you with this. Do you think Spirit has color or sex or sexuality or a political party or even a religion? The answer is No – which makes the walls we build between ourselves even more absurd.


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