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Pól Ó Lorcáin
Paul Larkin

Chroniclers are privileged to enter where they list, to come and go through keyholes, to ride upon the wind, to overcome in their soarings up and down, all obstacles of distance, time and place.
Charles Dickens - Barnaby Rudge, Chapter The Ninth

The Northern Light - The Eternal Self

Cnoic Dhoire Bheatha - The Derryveagh Mountains - Tír Chonaill

A léitheoirí, comrádaithe agus cairde
Dear readers, comrades and friends

The winter, and in particular the Christmas and New Year period, have always been sacred times. Times for inner reflection. Any man who says he has no time for meditation and wondering about life and why we are here is either a fool or a liar, or more likely both.

Below I present a poem I wrote over the Christmas just past. I was writing my own Northern Lights if you like. Below that again is my translation of a very short extract of Søren Kierkegaard's Either/Or from the original Danish. It is a very brief passage but it is the absolute epicentre of Kierkegaard's thought. I am grateful to the Danish author Lise Søelund for reminding me just how breathtaking this passage is - at least for those who finally dare to make that existential leap into themselves.

The Northern Light and The Eternal Self

(For my brother Brian)

The Northern Light

In the late afternoon, crawling
through the road rage of Dublin
in the season of good will

We pass in stages to a land
that still embraces the dark matter of life
the black velvet night

In Dublin there is no absence of light,
evening falls into an orange sodium pall
now polluting the whole eastern seaboard

In the end there will be nothing but a chafing red ribbon
from Belfast to Dublin

A Barium meal throwing up our psychoses,
our fear of silence, each other, loneliness,
the alien light cementing the conurbations

Only after Letterkenny do we leave
the last splurge of sickly street

Step out of the car at Termon - Refuge

Sense and listen for the hills
rising into mountains
at Errigal and Sliabh Sneachta
the stars cascading around Muckish
in the shape of Sé Do Bheatha

Fáilte 'na bhaile don Nollaig

A Christmas welcome home

To a place where the mysterious dark
still holds the light, the spirit and the way

@Paul Larkin
Carraic, Gaoth Dobhair
An Nollaig 2011


The Eternal Self
(Translated extract from Enten-Eller - Either-Or - Part Two – by Søren Kierkegaard - Translator - this blog author Paul Larkin)

From the chapter - "The balance between the aesthetic and ethical in the development of personal identity"

When all around you has become still - profound as a starlit night; when your soul rises clear from the whole world around it; then right above you will appear, not some ideal image of man, but the eternal glory of creation itself; then will the heavens seem to part and your own “I” will choose itself, or rather it will accept itself.

Now has your soul beheld the infinite essence, something that no mortal eye can look upon, and once seen can never be forgotten. Then will your true inner self receive its noble title, which it will hold for all eternity. You do not become someone else; rather, you become your essence; your human self awareness is no longer fractured; you are your true self.

Just as the heir to a great fortune, even the greatest treasure there ever was, cannot own anything until he has come of age, so is even the richest person as to naught until he has chosen himself. And likewise, he who one might call the lowest of the low is the epitome of existence itself when he finally chooses himself. For, to be exalted does not mean to possess this or that material thing, but simply to be oneself, and this is open to all men and women should they only will it to be so with all their heart and all their soul.

@Paul Larkin
Carraic, Gaoth Dobhair
An Nollaig 2011

Søren Kierkegaard

The chapter heading for the above passage in Enten-Eller Either-Or is:

Ligevægten mellem det Æsthetiske og Ethiske i Personlighedens Udarbeidelse
The balance between the aesthetic and ethical in the development of personal identity

See – pp 183/184 of Enten Eller part two from Søren Kierkegaard’s Collected Works - Electronic version available (in the original Danish) from The Søren Kierkegaard Research Centre -

1 comment:

A Pol, a chara....
I very happily introduced Kierkegard and your work to one of my pupils, a Catalan gypsy, via your blog..he was, to say the least, pensive and content to discover.
Gra mor.
by: Finn Anson (contact) - 13 Jan '12 - 12:50


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Title: The Northern Light - The Eternal Self
Date posted: 09 Jan '12 - 21:40
Filed under: General
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