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Fearing Ceasing Being Fearing Ceasing Being
by Dr. Lawrence Nannery
2013-04-01 12:19:08
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Here we lie in a tent in a canyon
In deepest night, on the earth itself
As though we had been dropped from the sky
By some sky god, straight down.

I am content.
We are together, my son and I
Just as it should be.
My feelings of pride and contentment are great indeed.

Yet even now I hear the drops of time passing
Under our star-drenched canopy.
When shall I move away?
There are those worrisome warts I never tell anyone about.
There are the chest pains I have stopped telling everyone about.
There are the thousand aches and pains
And the simple passage of time.

When shall I move away?
I do not want to move away.
But surely I shall one day. 

Here, on the desert floor, all is quiet under the bright stars.
I hear his contented breathing and I am deeply moved.
Even the wind should not ruffle his hair.
I would stand both before and aft, on guard.
This is the mission; I willingly embrace it.

We two reciprocate, and mutually care for one another,
Just as it should be.  
We move in secure contentment with each other side by side.
But the flash forward to the vanishing act colors all.
I do not, do not want to move away,
And that invades my peace, and makes the sound of my breath,
Here, where I most properly should be, come stertorous, nervous
And shallow, like my purchase here on earth.


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Emanuel Paparella2013-04-01 17:07:14
Ah, Kierkegaard’ existential dread. Lots of food for thought in this perceptive poem of yours, Larry. As doctors of philosophy and teachers of philosophy and of humanities you and I know quite well that while philosophy begins in wonder, it is also a preparation for death, a consolation as Boethius quips, even if it happens on April Fool’s day, that we all have to move on eventually and inexorably, and what we need to fear is not death so much but corruption which annihilates our authentic self, and is faster than death, and once she has caught up with us she may not easily let go…. Indeed it is hard to move on, but necessary too and what can be of greater comfort than the good memory we leave behind with our children and grandchildren, even with our students? On the other hand, St. Paul, that great existentialist also had it on target when he suggested that if Christ did not resurrect our lives are meaningless and our faith is in vain. We don’t hear much talk of resurrection nowadays and yet it hovers and haunts the world just as much as death, even on fool’s day.

Lawrence Nannery2013-04-02 17:02:39
Thank you, Emmanuel, for your excellent and sympathetic comments.

Leah Sellers2013-04-04 19:50:48
Wonderfully expressed, Mr. Lawrence.
In conversations and intimate moments with my Parents, and now the Precious Aged Souls who are under my care, I have discussed these things and much more with each of them.
Your UnBlinking Honesty and Beautiful Artistry are simply (and complexly) Wonderful.

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