ex animo infinito symphonia maxima

Tag: Perception

What is success?

Hello, again! I thought I would share a poem I wrote recently on the nature of the thing so elusive and oft-reified.


Memento mori.

I study hard to get a flying A, take
Test after test and class after class:
But what is success?

I earn my degree with sacrifice, work
Shift after shift and job after job:
But what is success?

I rise every morning, check
Like after like and post after post:
But what is success?

I pass people blind to how they suffer
Day to day and life to life:
But what is success?

I sing my song to them, how they smile
Ear to ear and soul to soul:
For what, indeed, is success?

What is success — the thing that
Turns the wheel of progress
Onward — and to what end?

The Sparrow’s Cage

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

Ernest Hemingway

“Soon all this will be no more, and all shall be as it should.”

“Brother, I don’t understand. You should rest your voice.”

“I will not rest—not now, not ever,” I said through convulsive wheezing.

“Oh, Emmanuel. Why do you always have to be so difficult? Why do you always have to be so perfect?”

“Elon, I’m not perfect—I’m human just as you are.”

“Yeah? Well, it doesn’t seem like that,” said Elon, standing up from his chair beside my bed. “You’ve always been so kind, and life has always been clear for you. Look at me—I’m a mess. A stinking mess. Years spent as an accountant, working through the ranks, trying to do well to eventually become CFO—and then it all falls apart. That sonofabitch Judas. He’s always, always impressing everybody with his charm and handsomeness. But he doesn’t fool me for a minute. I know he’s a liar and a cheat! I just couldn’t take his awful presence any longer—I swear he makes my skin crawl. He kept calling me weak and cowardly—so I silenced him with my fists.”

“Now, now,” I said through a cough, “that doesn’t make you bad. But neither do his actions justify your response. Remember, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”


The sky is eternal dark—
Black as Erebus
An abyss of nothingness
Devoid of the faintest glimmer of stars

The ground is eternal light—
Bright as Apollo
An abyss of nothingness
Devoid of any presentiment of life

Only dust, dust, dust
And millions of craters
On the bleak surface
Of the silvery moon

Only dust, dust, dust
And a tranquil sea
On the bleak surface
Of the silvery moon

Only dust, dust, dust
And hollow hills
On the bleak surface
Of the silvery moon

But on the edge of the horizon—
A pale, blue sphere
Peaks above vapid flats
And desolate sky

A stranger to the darkness
It dances delicately
Upon the lunar shore
And sparkles in a glorious jubilee

Life—breathing, beating, bleeding
Loving, lasting, loathing
Flowering, fasting, fighting
Struggling, smiling, surviving

Life—in all its infinite capacity
For good and evil
Creation and destruction—
Thriving on planet Earth

A glinting sapphire
Alone and incongruous
Writhing in the great emptiness
And stillness

A jewel that harbors all life—
Great and small
Complex and simplistic
Regardless of any artificial preconditions

Where everything is connected—
The wind, rain, and sea
All work in harmony
Inside Earth’s glass sphere

All eight billion humans—
Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist
American, Venezuelan, Chinese, Zimbabwean
Wealthy, impoverished, educated, illiterate

All eight billion humans
Live, loathe, love, and laugh
While cradled by the tiny azure moonstone
Drifting through nothingness

Our differences are hollow and trifling—
Race, religion, and politics are but
A superficial and inconsequential
Arbitrary divide

For we are all one:
United in our struggles
United in our griefs
United in our passions

For we are all one:
One expression of life
One human conscious
One beating soul of humanity

For we are all one:
Dust, dust, dust
From dust we came
And to dust we shall return.

The Goldfish

Any one who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light.

Plato, The Allegory of the cave

I don’t remember when I hatched, nor do I remember who my parents were. The earliest thing I can remember is swimming around my rock in a large tank with hundreds of other goldfish. I remember seeing “!elas no” on a big green sticker adhered to the glass wall of our tank. 

Life was good. All I had to do was swim around all day, and every evening the lights would dim and a great giant five-fingered tan being would descend from the heavens and, using its magical powers, would open the sky to sprinkle nourishing flakes of hazel-colored food. All the while I would swim around my rock, explore and hide amongst its crevices, and escape the bustle of the open water. 

But everything changed one fateful day. I remember being physically jolted by a harsh, rhythmic sound coming from the front wall. As I swam over to investigate, I noticed that the normally blurred images outside the glass were more distinct, and I saw a strange creature: it had a face like an oval, with a mouth full of smooth, rectangular teeth; it had red lips, wide brown eyes, and red hair. Every five seconds or so it would smash its fingers against the glass. It felt like it was pointing…pointing at me.


So life, continuing its unending struggle, moves on, if perhaps futilely, in search of a new home, a new sanctuary, a new paradise.

Oscar Scholin, 2019

Reaching for fresh cerulean sky, mountains of fire climb slowly from the cool Pacific depths. The gods’ fiery wrath gradually calms, and the sea breathes a sigh of relief….Lapped by the gently sculpting waves and crushed by the forcefully pounding breakers, the harsh, jagged edges of the rock beaches erode into pure black sand, and the ancient skeletal remains of living organisms coalesce to form pure white sand. Eventually, small dots of green lichen colonize the salt-crusted volcanic rocks, and wild grasses begin to grow on the barren black landscape. Strikingly beautiful sunset-colored hibiscus, with rings of white surrounded by hues of amber, scarlet, and faint pink, bloom as if kissed by the morning sun and watered with the drops of silver moonlight. Sweet fruit trees blossom, as if by the magic of some Arab genie, from the grass-covered rocks and imbue a darker hue of green to the newly formed islands….

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