this brief life



it seems to me

that life, this brief life,

is nothing other than this:

the incessant cry of these emotions

that drive us, that we sometimes attempt

to channel in the name of a god, a political faith,

in a ritual that reassures us that, fundamentally,

everything is in order, in a great and boundless

love — and the cry is beautiful.  Sometimes

it is a cry of pain. Sometimes

it is a song.


And song,

as Augustine observed,

is the awareness of time. It is time.

It is the hymn of the Vedas that is itself the

flowering of time. In the Benedictus of Beethoven’s 

Missa Solemnis, the song of the violin is pure

beauty, pure desperation, pure joy. We are

suspended, holding our breath, feeling

mysteriously that this must be source

of meaning. That this is the

source of time. 


Then the

song fades and ceases.

“The silver thread is broken,

the golden bowl is shattered, the amphora at

the fountain breaks, the bucket falls into the well,

the earth returns to dust.” And it is fine like

this. We can close our eyes, rest. This all

seems fair and beautiful to me.

This is time. 


Carlo Rovelli