Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Two Existentialist Epigrams

Photo: Soren Kierkegaard.  Very, very awesome existentialist.  Read his Fear and Trembling and Either/Or.  Very good Wikipedia page about him, too.

A quick shout out to my writers group.  Thanks for the help Tuesday, and thanks for coming here.  You rule!

And now, because I'm in a mood caused by the fall breeze and the falling leaves, two of my favorite epigrams:

But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
And all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.

Andrew Marvel, "To His Coy Mistress"

We live, as we dream--alone.

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

These express one of my favorite (and most empowering, and sometimes depressing) things: existentialism.  These epigrams are not about loneliness, but they are about alone-ness.  If you're in a plane that's going down, you're going to die alone, even if you're surrounded by 200 other people.  If you understand that--if you get that you're always alone, even in a crowded room, then you get all there is to know of existentialism.


  1. One of my favorite (most memorable?) epigrams is from Contact by Carl Sagan:

    Little Fly,
    Thy summer's play
    My thoughtless hand
    Has brush'd away.

    Am not I
    A fly like thee?
    Or art not thou
    A man like me?

    For I dance
    And drink & sing:
    Till some blind hand
    Shall brush my wing.

  2. I recognized that from William Blake right away! I'm gooooooooood! Not a bad epigram. Check out his "Little Black Boy." Good poem expressing racial equality hundreds of years before most poets.