Because Blogger's "Adult warning" often goes into a perpetual loop (isn't working properly), I will be making all new posts at my WordPress blog. You can follow it even if you do not have a WordPress Account. There're also my Twitter and my Tumblr blog, my Facebook and my Google+ page and my group.
(Update: Blogger hasn't fixed its problem with the "adult warning". Will go back to posting at my WordPress blog)

Sunday, October 3, 2010


On the monuments to the dead from two world wars (and Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan) which you can find in every small or large Ozzie town, they always say "Their memory will live forever".  Well, it never does, does it?    Even mountains are eventually ground down.

These monuments move me to tears.  17, 18 and 20 year-olds, going off to war, and dying in some faraway place. Their whole life ahead of them, cut short, pointlessly. 

This very moving elegy/epitaph from Simonides, commemorating the fallen of the battle of Thermopylae, is still around two and a half thousand years after it was written:
Ὦ ξεῖν', ἀγγέλλειν Λακεδαιμονίοις ὅτι τῇδε
κείμεθα, τοῖς κείνων ῥήμασι πειθόμενοι.
                    Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by,
                    that here obedient to their laws we lie

 (Steven Pressfield's translation)

But even two and a half thousand years isn't forever. 

I suppose when we say we'll love someone forever, we mean it.  But love ends.  People change.  People grow apart.  Keeping a relationship alive, keeping a friendship going, making sure your children don't drift away and become strangers, this is hard work.  It doesn't just happen. It's not good luck, or mostly not.  It's struggle, and effort, and keeping on trying.  I'm tempted to use a gardening analogy here, but the truth is the garden responds to your hard work.  People might not.  No matter how hard you work at it, maybe the other side of the friendship or relationship may not respond to your attempt to strengthen the friendship.  So your friendship or loving relationship may not survive, even if your love is forever. 

So here's to forever.  Even if it's only a year or two.  As the old song has it:

Keep right on to the end of the road, keep right on to the end,
Tho' the way be long, let your heart be strong, keep right on round the bend.
Tho' you're tired and weary still journey on, till you come to your happy abode,
Where all you love you've been dreaming of will be there at the end of the road.

(Sir Harry Lauder wrote this after the death of his son in WW1)

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