Scribblings and scrawls of a hopeless romantic soul

Lifetimes in retrospect

The sun has sunk and risen
And past felt out of touch
Like the silence after a curtain call
Or the dying embers of a fire
I watched it for the last time
In retrospect—
Swinging from pain and joy,
Trance and frustration
Memories tumbling out in smiles
At times in tears.

A demon waltzed into my subconscious
Where the loneliest of the loneliness remains
It asked me with indifference:
Would I live it all again and again?
Lifetimes flashed before my ancient eyes
Days that lifted me up
And those that worn me down
Lulled to sleep by the thought of recurrence
I said I would—
Until I move on to another life.


In response to dVerse’s Poetics: Time and What If? hosted by Merril who challenges us to look at time backward, forward, inside, and out. Ponder it into a poem. Then wonder, what if?

I was supposed to write about this before 2018 ended. But life happened. So anyway…

Last December, I dived into the philosophy of Nietzsche which eventually led me to the idea of eternal recurrence. This thought experiment asks us not to take the idea as truth but rather asks us what we would do if the idea were true. As the year was coming to a close, I took a retrospect of my short two decades. It was far from being perfect and in its most pragmatic way, life has shown me the beauty and the ugly. If given the chance to live it again exactly as it was as Nietzsche posed, I would. Until the universe agrees that I’m ready for the next.

Happy new year! 🙂

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29 thoughts on “Lifetimes in retrospect

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  1. I like the acceptance in the second to the last line. And resolution in the last.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like this a lot. Much to think about. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I especially like the imagery that this line evoked….” A demon waltz into my subconscious”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There is something quite scary with eternal resurrection I think… as if every day would be a tabula rasa….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I also read about the notion of eternal recurrence recently.
    A well written, bittersweet piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is thought-provoking–would one live the same life over? Would you change?
    These lines stood out to me–that the demon waltzed in the subconscious, like our own inner demons, but even they are bored. 🙂

    “A demon waltz into my subconscious
    Where the loneliest of the loneliness remains
    It asked me with indifference:”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Only we can allow it to be recurring over and over again. Enjoyed your reflection, specially this line:

    Where the loneliest of the loneliness remains

    Happy new year!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed Grace. Although our version of “recurring” only pertains on the choices we make. The end results changes, still dependent on a lot of factors. Happy new year 🙂


  8. I enjoyed reading this, and the back story Maria. I personally find that evaluating my past is a kind’a trick. We ask, could we or should we have done it differently. We cannot answer that because the current lens of life through which we gaze is completely different, including knowing now what the outcomes were of the decisions and actions we took then. We would definitely do it all again, and exactly the same way, because it was the only choice valid for us, in that moment. The proof being, it is the one we chose. After 71 years, I choose, to the best of my ability, not to live in the past or the future – but to live effectively as I’m capable, in the now, in this moment. The past is faulty memory and the future is unstable conjecture.
    HNY 2019

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wise wise words, Rob. Thank you for sharing them. As I was mulling over the notion of eternal return and what ifs — what if we could have said and done things differently — I began to think that maybe it wouldn’t matter. That even if we experience life again and again (exactly as it is) or choose to do things differently, the outcome will be the same. That who I am at this very second is who I’m supposed to be. But then again, maybe not.

      I like how you’re living: in the moment. Have a great 2019! 🙂


  9. i think the lessons keep presenting themselves whether you’re in this life or the next. hopefully as you are passing through you’re able to work through some of them so when they next present you don’t react and move along. it sounds awfully predictable but until the stone is polished to a fine sheen, it has to have the sand put to it…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I cannot change what’s gone and done; I cannot foresee the future; I can only live in the now, for it may be all I have!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. just finished Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of being and he quotes Nietzsche’s same eternal at the start of his book, we discussed it at length at book club and I find the idea most appealing, to return and fix what we learn from a different era and dimension, maybe when we harness time we will be bale to do this. a very thought provoking and soul searching poem Maria -one of your finest. and love your photo, the sincere gaze towards the sky is in itself the most beautiful question of life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwee.. thank you, Gina! I have heard about Kundera but I haven’t read his book. How was it? Would you recommend it? As for Nietzsche’s notion, it really is an interesting thought. To not necessarily return and fix the past but to re-live it, exactly as it is. *Though polishing a thing or two would be tempting*

      Happy new year! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • thank you for your reply Maria, you must read Kundera he is excellent and take the eternal recurrence to a higher level, yes I deviate from the original model as i see the benefit of returning not just as an object but as an influence , thank you for allowing me to write my thoughts here. Our book club discussion went on for 4 hours and we had some who had read it in French, and Persian, such a delight to hear their view points! a very blessed new year to you dear!


  12. Beautiful writing Maria. Happy New Year!


  13. I think about this question almost every day, as do most people. I have spent most of my life as a non-contextualized transgender person running from who I am, I go real good at it, and even married a wonderful woman and had wonderful kids and have a wonderful life, except that it felt painfully and persistently not like my life, like I am was outside of it. As a result as I commit to live rather than to die, the pain that is inflicted on my wife and my offspring is acute and inextricably unfair. If I could live it again, I would never have put them through the pain, but the result of changing that would be the choice that they never would have existed. This eternal recurrence really feels like the truth. Better to live the pain again, and find ways to deal with it all round, than abandon the loves that led to the pain. What I did was terrible, but I did not have a clue and did not know what the transgender and associated depersonalization really was, let alone didn’t know I couldn’t ever outrun it. I would hope that a younger generation with my similar circumstance might have more knowledge and context and be able to avoid the same mistakes so they can have the accretion of a less fractured love as life dances forward. This poem snuck up on me sideways and beautifully. So well done. I think I would read it again and again if given the chance. 😉


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