Years after reading Kierkegaard's gloom,
struggling through Spinoza's Ethics,
poring over Plato's thought
and failing to follow Kant,
it seems so desperate, grasping now
to find here - in this paperback -
three arcane and precious secrets
unrevealed by theologies,
thinkers, writers, scientists.
But here, inside this ragged novel,
grubby, ten years old and picked up
on a market stall for pennies -
revelations in a fiction.
Many brighter minds than mine
have asked the questions, tried to fathom
who we are, to penetrate
the mysteries of why we're here
and what the hell we ought to do
when we're finally sure we're here.
But, mainly, they got too ambitious,
built vast, theoretical systems,
posited all kinds of crap
to explain the unexplained.
But this cheap, ordinary novel
bore some fruit, at least for me:
What can we know? it simply asks -
the answer, like the question, so
simple, clear, so vital:
...nothing for sure.
How should we live? how hard to break
this ancient, urgent question down
to the essence of our lives:
...try not to hurt anyone.
And - what can we hope for?
This cuts to the core,
chills with its simplicity,
implies a cold and empty void,
a universe that's purposeless,
with no design, and which we fear
may well be the case:
...hope for the best;
but it won't make any difference.
Trevor Hewett is an Englishman who lives and
writes in his native Cornwall. Published widely in the UK and internationally,
he has a short collection of work - 'The Patchwork Woman' - available
from Mockfrog Design Press, Australia.