The Beginning and the End | Sunday Observer

The Beginning and the End

8 November, 2020

It takes a long time
For the slow mind
To move and understand
The life each began.
The beginning
Is without a beginning
To begin with.
Before the beginning
Was a timeless space
Hanging around
Without a centre,
Silent as the unborn thought
Waiting to burst out
In a sound full of light.
It was the burst of light
That moved time into space
In the beginning.
Before that, surreptitious time
Was lying low, bending and dripping
Like surreal clocks of Salvador
Without fragments of seconds and minutes.
The ominous silence of time without time
Was shattered by the sound of a big bang
Throwing out bits and pieces of something
That went flying in all directions
At the pace of God-speeded light
Filling the nothingness with something.

The beginning was in nothing
That exploded with something
To fill the emptiness
That is still expanding faster and further
Into the nothingness of emptiness.
The darkness of the silence
Was filled with the sound of light
Flying out of an open door
In the night.
As the silence that closes in swiftly
At the end of a long quivering note
Held in the violin
Drops into nothingness
I flounder in the emptiness
Looking for something
That can fill me
With at least a shred of belief
To relieve my grief.
In the end
Only the felt echo of a memory
Moves as something in nothingness
Like shadows of clouds racing
Over a green hill
And disappearing in the distance.
That which is hidden in nothingness
Is the something of everything.
The circled digit of O
Bulging in the middle
Is pregnant with the nothing
Of everything.
Zero is the sum of everything
Packed with the teeming pieces of nothing.

* * * *

When I switch on to connect with me
It takes a bit of time,
About a few battings of eyelids,
To light up the I in me
And lift me up to flow in the tide of the day.
And just as I open my eyes
I discover that time has not waited for me
And left me stranded
Like a late arrival at the station
Watching the train pull out
And run away determined
Never to come back to collect me.
Sometimes when I switch to connect with me
I can’t find myself
And have to reinvent myself
To discover who I am.
Finding answers for the day
Is not easy.
Answers slip away like my friends
Who are never there when I need them.
I am always running away from me
And I am tired of chasing me.
Carrying me on my back
Is not comforting me.
Tomorrow when I switch on
To connect with me
I know I will run like the overhead fan
Circulating endlessly in the same place.
The sun grows old like me.
It has already spent half its life.
The coming cold is not far away.
I must get ready for the coming cold.
There is no alternative
For the freeze of the icy cold.

* * * *

No one needs to fear Death.
He puts you at ease
With his fixed look of certainty.
That‘s the great thing about Death:
It takes the fear of dying ever again.
And once you go with him and get there
You have all the time to go looking
For the “I” you thought was in you
Though there was never an “I”
To make you what you said was “I”.
Who should be afraid of Death anyway
When it’s the most crowded place on earth?
You can hardly breathe in the grave.
Who should be afraid of Death anyway
When it can free you from all the trivia and paraphernalia
And leave you alone to do whatever you wanted to do
In your living days and couldn’t do,
Though by that time you have no feelings or desire
To do the things you wanted to do
When you were running away from Death
Loving living?
Death is also a place where you arrive,
All alone,
Not wanting the things, you thought you wanted.
The visit from Death is a reward
For having lived
In the face of Death.
Is there greater gift than that for living?
Death is, indeed, a reward for living.
Long live Death!

* * * * *

My beginning was in a vague start
Of things coming together
In a nebulous way to a throbbing centre
Waiting to happen
In a breakthrough
Of nothing turning into something
In a sudden fire-lit pulse of a light
That travelled all the way from the beginning
To burn me to death.
The lights were out in the beginning.
Everything was dark like the unopened eye
Twitching in the womb.
The womb was warm and cosy
But not an easy place to wait.
The struggle was to come out in one piece.
Countless lifeless stars
Hang out there without asking a single question.
Did the Big Bang occur, in the beginning of time,
As an answer or a question?
If it was an answer what was the question?
Of all the things that pull together,
Out there and in here,
The best that is left
Is Man – call him Friday or Monday --
Appearing in time to give meaning
To those cast away in a lonely planet
Wondering whether questions,
Wrestling with other questions,
Will ever end in finding answers
To fill the emptiness
Of ever-expanding nothingness.

* * * * *

Questions, in the end, curl up into a singularity
While the pluralistic answers proliferate
Into multiple choices.
The beginnings are varied
And come in different shades.
Endings are all the same.
Now that the sun is dying
Is time long enough for us to understand
The lives we began?
If the beginning was in a dark black hole
Where else could the end be, as a whole?
And why should the end be any different, eh?


In the hum of the spinning stars
You can hear the angels sing
To the music of the Eternal Accordion
Expanding and folding
Space till the end of timeless time.
Every beginning has an ending
And only man is born
To see the difference, it seems,
By standing in between.

Wild voices that make noises
Reverberate in raucous hocus-pocus
To the rim of time.
The journey that man began
Was to separate meaning
From vacuous noises and clime.
Each brick he laid
Was to fill the emptiness
With meaning.
Nobility is in finding something
To fill the emptiness of nothingness.
The end is in the meaning,
Or in the absence of it,
As it was in the beginning.

– H.L.D. Mahindapala
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