Friday, August 28, 2009

Invitation to Oblivion

In honor of my little brother's 21st birthday. I offer the following. It's an anonymous (which somehow seems very appropriate) ancient Greek poem from the Hellenistic period (c. 323-31 B.C.).

Invitation to Oblivion

Why was I born? Where did I come from?
How do I happen to be where I am?
Knowing nothing, how can I learn anything?

I was nothing, and yet I was born,
and before too long I'll be nothing again,
nothing at all, of no value whatever.

And such is the lot of everyone. I say,
therefore, brim the mixing bowls with wine,
for only in oblivion is oblivion braved.

From: Greek Lyric Poetry. Trans. Sherod Santos.