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Burning Earnestness

'Do not go gentle into that good night...' - Dylan Thomas


Thomas' quote has appeared on everything from space-epic films to motivational Facebook posts. And surely, as any great piece does, it finds its own way to each individual differently. What does it say, today? To me, it speaks to the glaring finality of mortal life. A pandemic still grips most of the world. It raises its head, again, after we had thought we'd seen it through. Livelihoods have changed, and may have changed forever. And this, all, as the year is only half-through. Life moves quickly. It's chaotic. How do we respond when things can be over, or different, in the blink of an eye? I don't think we have a choice but to chase our passions. Our furies, our loves. What gets us, grips us, and makes us burn inside. Earnestness, to ourselves. A burning earnestness. To fight, when we feel we should fight. To hate, at injustices, and only those. To love, when we want to love. To laugh, when we want to laugh. To sing, when we want to sing. To dance, when we want to dance. To respect ourselves, and others, indeed, as if the world may end the next day. For if we knew of such an impending doom, would we not regard all those around us with only understanding and tenderness? To glare, against shadow. To stand, if we are scared. To yell and scream and over-bubble with joy. To chase our dreams, as relentless, dogged warriors. Life will come and smack us across the face. It will beat us down. Wring our necks. It will make us seem it is forever. But it isn't. We are forever. Who we are, how we are remembered. What we leave behind. In deed, and in memory. Hopefully, the fondest of memories. We must show life defiance. We must show circumstance, and consequence, that we will not take a knee unless our legs are taken from below. And even then, they should see it in our eyes. Pasts, histories, traumas. We must stand up to them all. We must live again, every day, in the places we have died. We must let new forests grow, where those old have withered or been burnt away. We must allow fresh flowers to bloom, however sour the soil. The strata of our hearts are deep and long and painful to reconsider. But to laugh and love and find new fury is to take up arms against former monstrosities, and lay them away. They may always remain. But they should not ever lay claim to it all. That is the space reserved for new beauties. Breathe, live, love, again. And never surrender. B. C. Taylor