Reading The Mentor Book of Irish Poetry this morning I uncovered these words of Padraic Pearse:
I have squandered the splendid years:
Lord, if I had the years I would squander them over again,
Aye, fling them from me!
For this I have had in my heart, that a man shall scatter, not hoard,
Shall do the deed of to-day, nor take thought of to-morrow's teen,
Shall not bargain or huxter with God...
Brave, humble, and jubilant words for a man about to be executed for his commitment to the cause of Irish independence. (I'll put the entire poem in the comments section for those who are interested. Or you can go to http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/Poetry/PadraicPearse.html for more of his poetry.)
But for me, right now, what the words say is this:
There is no cause for regret. What is, is. There is exultation in living as we have lived, however critical we may be of our choices. It is a triumph to be alive, whatever the pain.
I had thoughts of myself, yesterday, as a person once folded into a skinny skinpacket and steeped in my mother's watery nature, bound by her muscles and bounded by her bones. It is a strange thing to think of, that I was me and yet I had never breathed, had never looked around me, had no worry about whether I was too stiff to bend over and get back to standing again. A fleshly being of infinite possibilities, before the first word of the story was set down on the page, and the plot began to be limited, step by step, as it must in order to proceed.
I like that feeling. That remembering that once I was as I was then, and that now I am as I am now, and that a long and rambling line connects me from there to here. Cool. Cool to be alive.
Happy birthdays, every one.