21 February 2008

Je Vis, Je Meurs!

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(Tibetan 'Wheel of Life' Thangka)

A 16th Century French Renaissance writer, Louise Labé, wrote a riveting albeit histrionic poem entitled 'Je Vis, je meurs...' ('I Live, I die...').

The poem reminds me of puppy love and the process of mourning all in one gush.


As an artist, Labé reveals what we've all felt - the equating of being human with being emotional. It is a painfully honest, obvious rendering of the very alive tortured and ecstatic human:
' Je Vis, je meurs ... '
(Louise
Labé)

Je vis, je meurs ; je me brûle et me noie ;
J'ai chaud extrême en endurant froidure :
La vie m'est et trop molle et trop dure.
J'ai grands ennuis entremêlés de joie.

Tout à un coup je ris et je larmoie,
Et en plaisir maint grief tourment j'endure ;
Mon bien s'en va, et à jamais il dure ;
Tout en un coup je sèche et je verdoie.

Ainsi Amour inconstamment me mène ;
Et, quand je pense avoir plus de douleur,
Sans y penser je me trouve hors de peine.

Puis, quand je crois ma joie être certaine,
Et être au haut de mon désiré heur,
Il me remet en mon premier malheur.

-------------

'I live, I die... '
(Louise
Labé)

I live, I die, I burn, I drown
I endure at once chill and cold
Life is at once too soft and too hard
I have sore troubles mingled with joys

Suddenly I laugh and at the same time cry
And in pleasure many a grief endure
My happiness wanes and yet it lasts unchanged
All at once I dry up and grow green

Thus I suffer love's inconstancies
And when I think the pain is most intense
Without thinking, it is gone again.

Then when I feel my joys certain
And my hour of greatest delight arrived
I find my pain beginning all over once again.

And, it was this very poem of Labé that called to mind the Buddhist 'Wheel of Life', and its depiction of the stages of suffering and joy that comprises the human realm.

On a lighter note, it also reminded me of this morsel of reasonable advice
:
"If something bad happens, don't be too sad, because something good is just around the corner.

If something good happens, don't be too happy, because something bad is just around the corner. "

(Gyalten Rinpoche)

Perspective on the human condition, short and simple. Just something to think about.

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