VITA AMICAE, by Ursula K. Le Guin
Fans of science fiction may be surprised to encounter this poem by Ursula K. Le Guin. Vita Amicae, the life of a friend, describes an individual life, densely capturing both the vicissitudes of living and the pathos of caring for another in and through contradictions. The poem also embraces friendship itself—opposites attract and similarities amplify the love that’s shared. As you read the poem, take time to dwell on the paradoxes of the images and words, the beauty and tragedy of the falling rain, the experience of being full and broken, the singing purity of the ringing bell. To celebrate life in the midst of death—physical death, but also the death of the soul—to cry out, “live, live”, is to find a way homeward.
In the midst of exhaustion, who holds you in the comfort of replenishment? When you think you mount the heights of success, what are the parts of you that are empty? What are the waves in which friends meet one another, one lending a hand to the fallen friend, supporting one another in turn, upholding one another in mutual nourishment?
Todd Breyfogle, Denver, Colorado