The choice is Life

Via Quidnovi, via Tom Bombadil:

"A strange security results when death is so close a companion. It can be felt while crunching along a beach, a skeleton walking on skeletons with the time machine turning in step, wavefalls and footfalls. A gleeful levity at being so brief, at feeling so exempt."
---James Hamilton Paterson, Sea Burial

"Life is the laugh of the actual in the face of nothing. There is so much to sense, think, and emote about, so much life to endure, such fullness of good and bad---and all of it, suddenly, nothing. Only laughter fits the gap. And he laughs luminously with the great swell of being nothing."
---A.A.Attanasio, Solis


Saint Anthony knew what ailed the world;
He could see the skull under the mask.
And he thought up long answers to very short questions
Less clever men never would ask.

Yes, Saint Anthony knew what ailed the world,
Though the world didn't know she was sick.

"Shall eternity break like an endless wave?
Can a candle flame burn on a circular wick?
Shall the beast never die that consumes its own tail
Like a dog with gangrene to lick?"

Yes, Saint Anthony looked for a cure for the world,
But in truth he ailed alone.

So off went the Saint in Saint Anthony's boat,
With a bird who played deaf for a fee.

(Melancholy had rusted the preacher-man's throat;
May it never infect you and me!)

And Saint Anthony hoped his parish'ners could be
Bigger fish in a much bigger sea.
Be assured---any dreamer's a prophet
Who dreams of a house in the sky
Or paradise.

May belief be the slave of aesthetics
And the prettier doctrine apply
Where doubt arise.

For remember---all nightmares are fiction,
And any foreboding a lie
To children's eyes.

And why would the world be more perfect
Than anything else made of clay---
Like you and I?

For the saint is less blessed than the gardener,
Whose husbandry makes of the earth
A paradise.

The naïve---who embellish his garden
Like innocent blossom---are worth
More than the wise.

Both the text above (extracted from "Saint Anthony's Vocation" and "Choose your own Dream") and the illustration ("The Endless Wave", which its author calls a Tomograph, a 3-dimensional scenes created using a variety of real elements mixed with hand painted cutouts) are from Patrick Woodroffe's amazing collection, Hallelujah Anyway.

Its extraordinary images explore and celebrate the border between reality and illusion; a realm of wild wonders and bizarre beings, brought to life through a combination of paint, etching and highly unconventional photographic techniques.

Published: 1987 (currently out of print)

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