A Fleeting Life

"Life is but a fleeting reflection on the mirror of existence,
Permanence exists not, and if your heart speaks otherwise,
It lies to you.

Impermanence is the essence of life, and this very truth sets us free.
Life is precious, life is fleeting. Live well"

- Kenneth Tang

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I bought a new book today. Its title, "Writing Poetry From The Inside Out: Finding Your Voice Through The Craft Of Poetry" by Sandford Lyne.

When I came home, I Googled his name and found that he passed away on February 7, 2007. Quite a sobering thought, to know that I now held in my hands the words of a man who is no longer with us. If I didn't buy that book, would I have even known who he was, and that he was gone? Would I have in my possession the voice of his living memory?

Until today, I'd never heard of his name. I only came across his name because of my interest in poetry and he wrote a book about writing poetry. Apparently, Mr. Lyne had been leading poetry workshops across the United States for twenty years and has had his poems published in numerous publications.

Google brought up some links and there was at least one that led to an expired domain name which carried his name as part of the domain.

Is that all that is left of a person when he dies? A few Google links and an expired domain name? Is life THAT fleeting?

I hope not. I believe not.

And while I had never known him, I feel as John Donne did in his poem "For Whom The Bell Tolls":

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manner of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

During his life, Mr. Lyne must have influenced many, many lives for good, through both his own life and his work. "Writing Poetry" shows a masterful command of the subject-matter as well as of the craft of writing itself. It has been a very, very inspirational read so far.

That, however, is secondary. The point is that we should ensure that we live our lives in ways that leave more than a mere expired domain name. We must live our lives in ways that leave enduring legacies in the lives of our loved ones, and in the lives of everyone with whom we come in contact.

We must live lives that make a difference.

To quote Emerson:
To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
Your life is precious. May it be beautiful and prosperous. May it make a difference.

"I Am Without A Home..."

...but I am not without dignity. It may be shattered in some way, in tatters from the slings and arrows of (mis)fortune, but my dignity remains. I just need a listening ear and an understanding heart and a helping hand to help me keep it up"

That may very well be the cry of every homeless person in the world.

Hard as it is, the worst thing is not the being without a roof over one's head. It's the feeling of "shame", the loss of dignity that comes from feeling so utterly useless and powerless in the face of such grim prospects.

When a man or woman cannot provide for shelter, it strikes a deep, deep wound at the very heart of one's identity and dignity. Shelter is a very fundamental need for any creature, let alone a human being, and when one cannot provide it, it eats away at the soul of the human being, stripping him of his very humanity, making him feel like an utter failure.

It's not a nice feeling, believe me.

I cannot know for sure what the situation is like in the United States about the homeless; I don't have the statistics, nor the ability to find out. But these people at edar.org, it seems to me, are doing something about it.

As I said earlier, the homeless may be without shelter, but they're not without dignity: human beings, they cling still to hopes and dreams. Help, if you can http://budurl.com/tjzz