We’re all prisoners, who dream being free! Dedicated to Ray Wijewardene

Are they really free - or prisoners of elements like all of us?

“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” – Robert Browning

Show me a ‘free man’
And I’ll show you a prisoner:
Of time and space,
Of elements and gravity,
Firmly and forever
In the grips of
Forces of Nature
And Laws of Physics,
With no prospect
Of any release,
Or any escape.

Gravity holds us captive,
Time holds us in its grip,
We are prisoners of oxygen,
And confined to bits of land
On this Blue Planet Ocean.

We may breathe the air
But can never fly through it
On our own power:
We’ve dreamed of it
Before and since Icarus
But we’re truly stuck
On the thin, crowded crust
Of our Home Planet
Between air and water.
Between past and future.

So who can still claim
To be a free man or woman?

We are prisoners
One and all,
Of time and space,
Of elements and gravity,
Firmly and forever
In the grips of
Forces of Nature
And Laws of Physics,
With no prospect
Of any release,
Or any escape.

Except, that is —
In our imagination:
May we forever
Dream of being free!

– Nalaka Gunawardene
Colombo, 25 August 2010

Dedicated to Ray Wijewardene: high flyer, dreamer and imagineer.
Ad astra per ardua!

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