I know I am born of the stuff of the universe and so through whatever mystery I was created I am aware my dissolution is guaranteed.
What is most painful to me is not the fear and anxiety of oblivion - which is terrifying on its face - but the sadness that everyone, every creature that I love is similarly fated. Buddhists, Hindus and others say we are all one; Campbell says the gods are beyond names and forms and we must surrender to and be annihilate in the universal will. Still, one can participate in the mystery of the universe and of life, knowing we face the unknown when we die, and still weep at the notion the ones we love may experience oblivion when they, too, complete the cycle.
The woman was emaciated / The sign hung from her neck / ‘Selling my daughter for 100 won’ / With the little girl standing next to her / The woman stood in the market place.
The woman was a mute / She gazes at her daughter / Her maternal feelings are being sold / Cursed at by passers-by / The woman stares only at the ground / The woman has no more tears.
Clutching her mother’s skirt / ‘My mother’s dying,’ cries the daughter / The woman’s lips tremble / The woman knows no gratitude / The soldier gave her 100 won, saying / ‘I’m not buying your daughter, I’m buying your motherly love’ / The woman grabs the money and runs off.
The woman is a mother / With the 100 won she received for the sale of her daughter / She hurries back, carrying bread / She shoves the bread into her daughters mouth / ‘Forgive me,’ wails the woman."
— Jang Jin-sung poem translated by Kevin Kim; 100 North Korean won is roughly equivalent to 73 US cents or 47p. (Shout-out to the BBC for covering.)
— Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces.