Existential Risks in a World of Immortals

1
No lines rewriting the story
of your face is a risk I wouldn’t take.

2
How would your story change if your body didn’t?

3
I wouldn’t know the soft way you smile
in the days before you die.

4
Hero, if there were no risk of death,
would the prize mean as much?

5
Enough empty promises!
Eternal Life would finally call Eternal Love’s bluff.

2012

2 Responses to “Existential Risks in a World of Immortals”

  1. Padma Thornlyre says:

    Ah. This recalls my favorite novelist, Nikos Kazantzakis, whose 90-page prose poem, “Askitiki” (Spiritual Exercises) begins: “We come from a dark abyss, we end in a dark abyss, and we call the luminous interval life.” Indeed, that “risk” of death (a soft word: death is a certainty) is what makes the prize so luminous. And yet there are eternal moments, and they are usually states of love, I think, moments of ecstatic and electric tenderness that utterly erase the Abyss in their surrender to the heart. That, I think, is why Aphrodite appeared to us.

    • wordweed says:

      I’m unfamiliar with this prose poem, Padma. Thanks for bringing it to my attention! This poem was inspired by a friend who asked me what I thought might be the existential risks of living in a world in which there is no physical death. I think I realized in writing it that immortality would completely change our mythology, our motivations, our sense of beauty.

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