Posted in Poetry

Dying today

For all this time beneath this visiting moon,
Where treasure is, my heart has not been at it
with the lights of the lamp glowing in the gloom.
But now I see the voracious time
devour the kingdom of the shore,
And the solid earth rule over the liquid main,
Increasing store with loss and loss with store;
When I see such vicissitudes of state,
Or fate itself repeated over and over;
Splashes of battle have taught me to ruminate
That nothing stays the same to remain forever
And I can’t depend on anything that changes.
This thought is a truth that hope chooses
And in the dying moments of today, fears I lose.

Posted in book review, Miscellany

Triumph of the Will

Like Hecate, the goddess of underdogs, I have a soft spot for writers and thinkers who arose above personal hardships and triumphed in the will. If they have not experienced human highs and lows, how could they write and explain the meaning of life? Take the Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky whose near-death experience on the gallows and subsequent travails shaped how he viewed humanity, the purpose of God, and the dichotomy of good and evil. I compared the life of Dostoevsky with that of Victor E. Frankl, the father of Logotherapy, who survived five death camps during World War 2 because both men’s intellectual fervor saved them from self-destruction in the darkest hours of their lives.

Dostoevsky (hereinafter “D”) was a political prisoner sentenced to death for reading banned books. But the most incredible feat of luck pulled him out of the gallows, and he was sent to a Siberian work camp. He forced himself to channel a danger of hopelessness and resignation in such a squalid environment into the world of imagination. His characters were his alter egos trapped in a cycle of solipsistic containment of morality, religiosity, and social justice. In these attitudinal and creative values as a way of relieving himself from the slough of despond, D finds a kindred spirit in Frankl (hereinafter “F”), whose spirit never succumb to the hopeless situations in death camps where life seemed to be a curse. Instead, f kept himself busy by constantly devising his school of thought, analyzing it, and structuralizing the concepts in his head and on any writable medium he could find discreetly. The result is Logotherapy, the third Viennese school of psychotherapy that encompasses philosophy, religion, neurology, and psychoanalysis, whose nature and method are common to all humans and applicable to all regardless of age, gender, race, and culture.

So much so for the reading of the brief article, but the effect is magnanimous and resonant with a pellucid tenor of a victorious high human spirit with humor as a handmaid to intellect (wit), which would otherwise be grim and dreary subject to temperamental bouts of depression and pessimism. Both men in their prime of youth had their sovereign rights of individualities in tatters and shackles, but their willingness to live and achieve their goals exceeded the compass of the malicious fortune and triumphed in perennial glory. They are, as Ben Jonson in his humor might have concurred, men not of an age but for all time.

Posted in book review

Letters on England by Voltaire

Letters on England by Voltaire

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Voltaire’s Letters from England, originally published in 1733, is a solipsistic treatise on political, religious, and cultural observation during his stay from 1726 to 1729 of the benign nation that welcomed the thinker with open arms when he fled from persecution in his native France.

But the book is not a blinded paean to a rival country with a long sophisticated warring history with an intent to retribute his spites to his mother country as an expatriate. Instead, Voltaire takes a stance of a piqued paratactic storyteller in the fashion of Herodotus’s Histories or a trenchant journalist in the school of George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London. In Voltaire’s eyes, that the English are practical folk with a propensity for realism: reflective, respectful of etiquette, cool-headed, and effusively proponent of scientific discoveries are conspicuous in the overview effect of France seen across from the other side of the Channel.

From the manners of English Quakers to Isaac Newton’s (whom he admires as the brilliant sun of Halios) quantum physics and the law of the universe in great detail, the subjects of interest and the depth of knowledge demonstrate that Voltaire is more than a rebellious French enlightenment thinker. He is a true intellectual whose reason is constituted by the consilience of multidisciplinary subjects in depth. The book is a testament to a genius of a particular kind who embodies a man of letters in its truest sense.



View all my reviews

Posted in Novellas

Freya’s Chariot and Toro’s Aspiration

Freya rides in her new celestial chariot driven by two Norwegian Forest cats named Bygul and Trjegu. The Norwegian forest cats came from a single-fathered family when their father felt unsure how to raise them after their mother left the family. So the father asked Thor for godly help. Thus Thor gave the kittens to Freya, thinking that they might be helpful to her as companions or messengers.

But the intelligent and beautiful Freya has a better idea: they could drive her divine chariot to travel across the skies and seas, not to mention land given proper training and times of experience. So rather than smothering their natural agility, unfailing alertness, and admirable persistence, all of which are excellent traits for hunting prey, Freya finds the most brilliant way of a beautiful kind to let her cats drive the chariot. There’s no need to goading or hollering to spur Bygul and Trjegu because such application is unnecessary for performance when the cats love their roles with all their hearts, souls, and minds. When in doubt, read Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, and you will soon believe me. If you have cats, see for yourself, for they do when they like, not what you want them to.

Toro, aka the Curious Tabby, is contemplating joining the team, imbued with high hope of running Freya’s chariot from sunrise and sunset, flying from one end of the horizon to the other, over the ruffling waves of the deep cobalt seas. As one year and three months old, Toro thinks he can apply for Freya’s training school, where Bygul and Trjegu are instructors. At the thought of it, euphoria envelopes his body in a vista of the magnificent chariot, and his spirit now soars up in the garden of ether, intoxicated with the weightless levity. No more boring days, no more need to call the attention of Judy, his human sister, to let him out to the living room, which is always and ever tiresome.

It’s not that Judy lacks care and affection. Hardly so. It’s because of her cantankerous elderly mother, who doesn’t like him to roam around the living room where she usually stays, watching the repeats of talk shows on YouTube. Toro understands Judy’s dilemma between her willingness to let him out and her submission to her mother’s scolding because otherwise, she knows that the mother will discipline Toro with her walking stick. Toro loves Judy, but his curiosity doubles up with aspirations, whetting his desire for driving Freya’s chariot at least just for once. But then it would mean leaving poor Judy alone behind with the horrible old woman. Hence Toro is thinking hard again.