Now here’s a sad description of the end. From The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz, Chapter 2:
First line of the chapter:
“My father was slowly fading, wilting before our eyes”.
And the last lines from the same chapter:
“What still remained of him – the small shroud of his body and the handful of nonsensical oddities – would finally disappear one day, as unremarkable as the grey heap of rubbish swept into a corner, waiting to be taken by Adelia [house keeper] to the rubbish dump.”
And then there’s the famous line by Yeats in Sailing to Byzantium:
“An aged man is but a paltry thing, a tattered coat upon a stick.”
As bad as it sounds, this line has a silver lining. I have a friend who, when he was in college, did heroin. He sat in a lit class and heard this line. In an instant, in a flash, it occurred to him. “If I keep going the way I’m going, I’ll end up just like this. A tattered coat hanging on a stick.” And he quit drugs. On the spot. That was it.
Hmm. Schultz was Polish. Yeats Irish. Maybe I should move to Japan where they honor their old folk?
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A marvelous little book…