La Vita Nuova

I heard this poem in a podcast several weeks ago — it was written by Manolis Kellis, a professor in computer science at MIT who works in the field of computational biology. He wrote this poem as a young man for his high school yearbook; it is about goodbyes and the transformations that take place during major transitional periods of one’s journey through life.

The Tide Waters

“All this was, another lake, where some rest we sailors take
Waters calm and full of fish, we all find there what we wish
Some seek fruit and others feast, some of us just look for peace.
Some find friendship, others love, some seek both and neither have.

We were different when we came, each his own story and fame
Different people had we been, different cultures had we seen
Different nature, different face, each unlike all in this place.
We had faced success, defeat, then in one lake came to meet.

There, the orders that we followed, and the pride that we swallowed
Made us one, but not the same, joined us, strangers who there came.
Sooner, later, groups were made, tribes were differences will fade,
Some attached, more or less, others fought and made a mess.

But again we have to go. What for? Where to? We don’t know.
Still we know it, we will try, there to rush, to flee, to fly.
There’ll be some who wish to stay, but they’ll carry on, away
We’ll continue on our journey, as we came here, strong, yet lonely.

From the lake a river flows, from the river many goals
On that river we will race, each will try to find his pace.
In that scene, the sailors face their first fear, defeat, disgrace
Here and there comes out a face, that the waters soon embrace.

Some get lucky find their way, others sink beneath the waves
In the race we will part: some will settle near the start
Some set goals beyond the stars (’cause the river carries far).
You should know in what we’ve done, the hard part is still to come.

So I’ll have to say good bye, don’t you worry I won’t cry
Neither will they, those who try ’till the end to keep their pride.
But please know dearest friends, who were always there to mend
I will always need your hand, I will miss you ’till the end.”

~ Manolis Kellis (Spring 1995)

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