Sahara dust, image by Qlug, on Pixabay
Quintessence of Dust
[With a nod to the Bard]
We are the moving dust,
we are the breathing dust,
we are the seeing dust,
we are the living dust.
But how, you ask, and rightly
so, can dust fall asleep,
dreaming of places unknown
and lovers unmet—how can
dust imagine whole worlds
and love with one heart for
sixty winters and sixty summers?
And do the notes that stir life
come also from dust, just a
little dust, and nothing more?
When the music is played
and dust dances with dust,
and dust laughs with dust,
and soon dust loves dust,
can dust ever understand
the paradox of its own
being, from dust to dust?
Not until the winds come,
the warm winds of Eternity,
will dust be blown away,
leaving the unseen soul
alive, to walk and breathe
and dance and love, bathed
forever in the dustless Light.
Living in a Dry Land
They who choose to live in a dry land
must live a very dry life—
too parched to sing, too dried out by what
they call “reason” to see they have made
it hollow, a partial thing, a blind thing…
They have made their world so arid even
hope is scorched while the human is left
desiccated, no wetness left for good or
evil, not even for the inscrutable miracle
for in their sere minds all of life shrivels,
left scorched, withered—burnt fragments
that were once honor, courage, faith—now
they see only an empty desert bounded by
death, extinction, nothingness…
A man once came to them, to that desert
their seared souls had made. He offered
them water, water to quench their thirst,
to moisten their minds, to make green
and lush once again their world, all done
with water, the holiest of water that would
lead them from a paradise to Paradise.
A few drank of the water, the water of
life and hope and awareness—
the water of Eternity—
but the others refused it, fearing the
man who brought it so much,
they killed him.
Two thousand years later,
some drink from His water of Life
and others choose a shriveled life,
too dry for hope, too dead for any
Nolo Segundo (his pen name) has been published in more than 50 literary journals
in the US, UK, Canada, Romania, India, and Italy the past few years since he began
writing again after a 35-year hiatus. He doesn't know why the poems started coming
to him again, but suspects they come from someplace deeper than the unconscious
As a young man, he did not believe in either soul or God—not until, at 24, he suffered
a major clinical depression and, in an attempt to escape to what he thought would be extinction, nothingness, he leapt off a bridge into a Vermont river. The near-death experience he had was not of the “white light” sort—it was terrible, actually, but he
has come to thank God for it all.
Fifty years later, he’s still trying to understand all of it, but he knows that chance is the
real illusion, and the problem with sentient human life is not that it is meaningless—
the only logical conclusion to atheism—but that there is so much meaning in virtually
every moment we can only grasp a portion of it.
He is the author of two books: The Enormity of Existence, and Of Ether and Earth.