As part of NPR's modern essay series "This I believe," poet Dalia Sofer contributed a thought-provoking essay entitled, "Our Lives are Ephemeral." While we deal with ephemera in the physical world, I thought this journey into the metaphysical would be a welcome respite.
In the story, which appeared this month on the NPR Web site, Sofer wrote, "I find beauty in life's ephemera, though like most people I am afraid of loss and endings."
Later in the essay, Sofer writes:
"Like Sisyphus, I get up every morning, grab a cup of coffee, and sit at my desk. I stare at the lines from the poem "Tobacco Shop" by Fernando Pessoa, pasted on my wall. Pessoa writes:
But the Tobacco Shop owner has come to the door and stands there.
I look at him, straining my half-turned neck,
Straining my half-blind soul.
He'll die and so will I.
He'll leave his signboard, I'll leave poems.
A little later the street will die where his signboard hung,
And so will the language my poems were written in.
I begin writing and I think, "'Yes, dear Fernando, but so what? My lines exist for now, not even, mind you, in my original language, which has not yet vanished, but no doubt will in my bloodline.'" And if I were not overly concerned with the hazards of smoking, I would light up a cigarette."
According to NPR, Sofer's first novel, The Septembers of Shiraz: A Novel (P.S.), was selected as a 2007 New York Times "Notable Book of the Year." Sofer lives in New York City.
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