I was once a professor in Poland.
I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills.
وَأَينَ ما حازَهُ قارونُ من ذَهَبٍ
وَأَينَ عادٌ وَشدّادٌ وَقَحطانُ
-- Frisch weht der Wind der Heimat zu
Mein Irisch Kind, wo weilest du?
-- En orien vei l´estella creguda
qu´eu l´ai ben coneguda.
There is nothing more common in world literature than loss, an end, and exile, and widening gyre, and way of no return; such things have been expressed in all languages of the humanity, those that I know and those that I ignore. Whoever had, whoever achieved, must be prepared for composing his or her own lament. On the fall of a city, on the loss of a country, on a farm in Africa, on books that burned, on black suns, on enemy armies that blocked the way home. Maybe simply on time passing by; because the time of enjoying is short, no matter the exact duration. We had thirty years. And we put an end to those thirty years with our own hands, because we could not stand that time any longer. Perhaps simply because everything decays after reaching perfection. The golden apple does not remain fresh forever. And the eastern avengers only come when the time of decay is ripe, when the apple already slips out of our own hands.
Everything that happens to me had happened to others before me. Almost to every intellectual that I can think of. To Eliade and to Cioran, and to Miłosz, and to Gombrowicz, and to Cassirer, and to Zweig, and to Auerbach, who would perhaps never become comparativist if he did not have to go to Istanbul. And to Porębowicz, about whom they say that every time he remembered his library abandoned to oriental avengers, he cried.
What does Marcus Aurelius say about such things? Is the cucumber bitter? Throw it away. Are there briars in your path? Turn aside. The paths of exile are winning solutions not for everybody, but nonetheless they are for most. They lead to many a garden of earthly delights, as I know one myself.
And here I am, to chew the bitterness of my homeland, to compose my lament, to fear the armies of the black sun, or to conclude: Et ades sera l'alba.