Thursday, May 30, 2013
What Shall I Think When I Come To Die?
What shall I think when I come to die,—if I am then in a condition to think?
Shall I think what a bad use I have made of my life, how I have dozed it through, how I have not known how to relish its gifts?
“What? Is this death already? So soon? Impossible! Why, I have not succeeded in accomplishing anything yet. . . . I have only been preparing to act!”
Shall I recall the past, pause over the thought of the few bright moments I have lived through, over beloved images and faces?
Will my evil deeds present themselves before my memory, and will the corrosive grief of a belated repentance descend upon my soul?
Shall I think of what awaits me beyond the grave . . . . yes, and whether anything at all awaits me there?
No . . . . it seems to me that I shall try not to think, and shall compel my mind to busy itself with some nonsense or other, if only to divert my own attention from the menacing darkness which looms up black ahead.
In my presence one dying person kept complaining that they would not give him red-hot nuts to gnaw . . . and only in the depths of his dimming eyes was there throbbing and palpitating something, like the wing of a bird wounded unto death.
--from Poems In Prose, Ivan Turgenev.