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I have never belonged wholeheartedly to country or State, to my circle of friends or even to my own family… Such isolation is sometimes bitter, but I do not regret being cut off from the understanding and sympathy of other men. I lose something by it,to be sure, but I am compensated for it in being rendered independent of the customs, opinions and prejudices of others, and am not tempted to rest my peace of mind upon such shifting foundations.
It does seem simple, doesn’t it?’ she said, with a final bitter attempt at flippancy, ‘when you want to kill a chicken…you take hold of it…then you wring its neck…it’s only the chicken who does not find it quite so simple. Now you hold a knife at my throat, and a hostage for my obedience…You find it simple…I don’t
Do not pursue what is illusory – property and position: all that is gained at the expense of your nerves decade after decade, and is confiscated in one fell night. Live with a steady superiority over life – don’t be afraid of misfortune, and do not yearn after happiness; it is, after all, all the same: the bitter doesn’t last forever, and the sweet never fills the cup to overflowing.
That’s just how white folks will do you. It wasn’t merely the cruelty involved; I was learning that black people could be mean and then some. It was a particular brand of arrogance, an obtuseness in otherwise sane people that brought forth our bitter laughter. It was as if whites didn’t know they were being cruel in the first place. Or at least thought you deserved of their scorn.
How the miracle of our meeting Shone there and sang, I didn’t want to return From there to anywhere. Happiness instead of duty Was bitter delight to me. Not obliged to speak to anyone, I spoke for a long while. Let passions stifle lovers, Demanding answers, We, my dear, are only souls At the limits of the world.
I sip my coffee. I look at the mountain, which is still doing its tricks, as you look at a still-beautiful face belonging to a person who was once your lover in another country years ago: with fond nostalgia, and recognition, but no real feelings save a secret astonishment that you are now strangers. Thanks. For the memories. It is ironic that the one thing that all religions recognize as separating us from our creator–our very self-consciousness–is also the one thing that divides us from our fellow creatures. It was a bitter birthday present from evolution, cutting us off at both ends.