Saturday, December 16, 2017

George Onsy writes


Part V

"I can see the three years passing, then we finally come to this wintry night, 29 November 1900, at Hôtel d'Alsace in Paris, end of your journey. Here’s Fr. Cuthbert Dunne, a Passionist priest from Dublin, coming to give you the Extreme Unction. Two of your close friends are kneeling by your bedside. What do you feel?”

“I’m now in a semi-comatose condition.”

As I’m kneeling, too, somewhere in the room, I can see you, when roused, giving signs of being inwardly conscious and understanding very well the prayers being said.

“Now, as the priest repeats close to my ear the Holy Names, the Acts of Contrition, Faith, Hope and Charity, with acts of humble resignation to the Will of God, I’m trying all through to say the words after him. Where there is sorrow there is holy ground.”

“Sometimes sorrow can be healing?”

“How else but through a broken heart
May Lord Christ enter in?
Where there is sorrow there is holy ground.”

“Yes, I should think so, but love is still much greater.”

“All sins, except a sin against itself, Love should forgive.
All lives, save loveless lives, true Love should pardon.”

“You know, in my century, a few years ago, in 2011, your tomb was cleaned of the many lipstick marks left there by admirers.”

“Heh … And all, but Lust, is turned to dust
In humanity's machine.”

“All, dear Oscar, but life journey’s lessons.”

“What a pity that in life we only get our lessons when they are of no use to us. Believe me, the one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it.”

“We don’t remember though. We continue to do what many generations before us used to do.”

“Then, sooner or later we have all to pay for what we do.”

“However I remember you did once say: The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past and …”

“… and every sinner has a future. Listen! The only thing that one really knows about human nature is that it changes. Change is the one quality we can predicate of it.”

“Even before man changes, he could be different from himself.”

“Yes, most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. Therefore, man reaches his perfection, not through what he has, not even through what he does, but entirely through what he is.”

“Man, an extremely complex creature.”

“Absolutely, know that when one has weighed the sun in the balance, and measured the steps of the moon, and mapped out the seven heavens, there still remains oneself. Who can calculate the orbit of his own soul?”

“None. The only truth here is that your soul has just become free now, isn’t it?”

He replies looking peacefully behind at his footsteps he has left on our planet,

“I never saw a man who looked
With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue,
Which prisoners call the sky.” 

Then, he continues,

“And the wild regrets, and the bloody sweats,
None knew so well as I;
For he who lives more lives than one
More death than one must die.”

“You have always had many things to give, did you have disciples?”

“No, every great man nowadays has his disciples, and it is always Judas who writes the biography.”

“Heh! Oscar, what can one say between the journey of this life and the so called death?”

“The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death. Yes, keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. In the treasury-house of your soul, there are infinitely precious things, that may not be taken from you. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings warmth and richness to life that nothing else can bring. And never forget that to love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”

Here, I take my deepest breath to say quietly, “Dear soul friend, I’ll go now, though our souls will continue to be friends forever. But before I go, I would like to ask you: which of your words do you prefer to engrave on your epitaph instead of the verses we started our conversation with?”

“Which words?! You know that I summed up all systems in a phrase, and all existence in an epigram.”

“Yet, dear Oscar, there’s only one to conclude everything with.”

“Well, how about this: 

‘We are the Zanies of sorrow. We are clowns, whose hearts are broken’?”

 Image result for oscar wilde paintings
 Oscar Wilde -- June Ponte 

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