This poem by Thomas Hardy brings Syria into my mind. A nation that has been near obliterated by unrest. How many great poets, thinkers, scientists, writers have been lost. Are lost every day. Pakistan’s poverty rate is staggering, and I look at the poor children who will never go to school, wondering if given the chance, how many of them would have risen to greatness, and then, what is greatness? In the ending paragraphs of Middlemarch by George Eliot, she alludes to a great life perhaps being one that lives and dies quietly, peacefully. A life that is in fact lost to history.

I Looked Up from My Writing

“I looked up from my writing,
   And gave a start to see,
As if rapt in my inditing,
   The moon’s full gaze on me.
Her meditative misty head
   Was spectral in its air,
And I involuntarily said,
   ‘What are you doing there?’
‘Oh, I’ve been scanning pond and hole
   And waterway hereabout
For the body of one with a sunken soul
   Who has put his life-light out.
‘Did you hear his frenzied tattle?
   It was sorrow for his son
Who is slain in brutish battle,
   Though he has injured none.
‘And now I am curious to look
   Into the blinkered mind
Of one who wants to write a book
   In a world of such a kind.’
Her temper overwrought me,
   And I edged to shun her view,
For I felt assured she thought me
   One who should drown him too.”
-Thomas Hardy
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