Nolo Segundo

< Back to Issue Seven


Vanity and Dust

Vanity and dust,
Dust and vanity—
Is that all we are?
Clashing egos,
Scheming, soulless,
Taking and getting
Only to lose all to
That cheater Death?

When all you love
Will one day turn
To dust, and none
Can beat emptiness,
Then you must pick—
That all is but chance,
Or all is planned, and
Luck is the illusion…
Sentience a cruel joke,
Or a divine-like gift…
And you are a fluke,
Or one tugged by God.

“Vanity and Dust,” read by Nolo Segundo.

Nolo Segundo, pen name of retired teacher L.J. Carber, 75, became a published poet in his 8th decade in over 70 online/in-print literary journals and anthologies in five countries and two trade book collections under his pen name: The Enormity of Existence [2020] and Of Ether and Earth [2021]. Both titles and much of his work reflect the awareness he’s had of being both an immortal as well as a mortal being since he almost drowned in a Vermont river 50 years ago, and had a near-death experience that shattered his former belief in a nihilistic-materialist (as in only matter is real) Universe. And no, his NDE was definitely NOT of the ‘white light’ sort, but then his near-drowning was not accidental; however, terrible as it was, he thanks to this day that Being–Force–Presence called God for all of it. He has been shown what many intuit: that each of us has an endless consciousness which predates birth and survives death. The problem with life is not that it is meaningless, which is the only logical conclusion to atheism, but that life, each life, has so much meaning that none of us can fully grasp it all.

Next (Annie Harpel) >
< Previous (Karen Abeyta)

Photo Credit: “Dust” by Marco Jörger,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.