Lamenting greatness

Lamenting greatness.  It starts to go, even hints at a farewell…then what do you have to hope for?  What else is there to sustain you but this, that regarding which it would be utter cowardice to say otherwise?  Admitting that you’re losing it is something tough, the toughest thing to chew, the toughest thing to do.  That you are losing your powers, your wits, your character, your brains, your secrets, your revelations and promises.  It is a stone, it is a boulder, it is a mountain, which will give you more than you bargained for in your bite and will break more than your teeth.  Confessing our weakness, not in the smallest things but in the largest too, in them both: that is our greatest overcoming, that and that alone.  Confessing in your heart–it need not be in front of others, you need not pander in this way; in fact, such display merely shrinks the reality that could be attained, makes of it an easily losable marble–confessing deep down, at your core, that stone core of you I CAN’T, IMPOSSIBLE, but still…what?  Still–living.  Because what can we do when we’ve lost it all, when we’ve lost the greatest, but continue to live, live with the loss as we before lived with the possession?  We break down, we fall, we crumble, and we cry at our loss, we wail at what we have become.  But those tears and those sobs are still–living tears and sobs, they still reflect life’s deepest wish for us–to live, to live…to live?  Yes, because, unlike those of us, the living, who attain our bread through promises, make something out of nothing through promises, make and break, are made and broken by promises, life, the being of the living, the life of the living, promises nothing, nothing at all, save–life, life…life?  Always a question, always secret whisperings and omens, always a command followed by, or intertwined with, an obedience.  Life, despite your whining, despite your having been in the past something greater and more worthy of respect, despite the disaster of your guiding star, the collapse of your heavens, the leveling of your axis mundi.  Life, despite your dying, despite your being more than quite fed up with life, despite your abysmal shrieking at life’s cruel jokes, its painful jest that makes a jest of anything, keeps giving itself despite the loss of ourselves.  The loss of ourselves…what else is that but the painful, painfullest and hardest reminder that life keeps on giving, gives blows and exile as well as home and sweet, tender caresses?  The loss of ourselves…what is that but the shocking, the urgent, the heart-wrenching reminder that life is something more than us, so much more that it easily lets us slip into becoming less of ourselves in its becoming more?  Life’s soaring is precisely our staying put and staying grounded sometimes, our being put in the ground with rough or soft hands always.  Put away your whining and live, life shouts, or whispers, to us, always–she has to speak so frankly to us; we are deaf without that frankness–live like you lived when you were winners, when you had it all, you losers–you eternal losers!

Waste (2023)


  1. Wow, Richard. This piece grabbed me deeply in ways I am still processing.
    One phrase in particular triggered something hopeful and heroic inside me:
    “But those tears and those sobs are still–LIVING tears and sobs.”
    Thanks & Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Richard Q says:

      Thank you, Frank. It makes me feel that we journey at least part of the way together when you say this. I hope your days have secrets to share.

      Liked by 1 person

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