Here are two short poems, both entitled "On the Precariousness of Human Nature," by St Gregory the Theologian (or, Gregory of Nazianzus, as he's also known):
I. Poem 1.2.12, De naturae humanae fragilitate (PG 37, 754).
II. Poem 1.2.13, De naturae humanae fragilitate (PG 37, 764-755).Dear world, though not so very dear, why like a rolling wheeldo you bear down on me, who trudge wheezinglike a tiny ant distressed at his sore burden?But you who are so huge, on the other hand, bear so much.I know, in fact, that you are from God, proclaiming Him. But likewise, formedby Christ's own hand, you were woven of thingsboth heavenly and earthly. The body was fashioned down here,while soul, again, is a breath of the great Mind.Nevertheless, like all the others, I am driven to and froby my miseries, miseries from an enemy.And like a seagoing dolphin upon a land, in the thin air I die.World, my time is done; bring the people on unwounded.
Everyone should own this little volume, translated by Peter Gilbert (St John's College, Santa Fe). And if the people in our various Orthodox youth committees had any sense, they'd use this little book in their work with adolescents.Myself and time, like birdsor ships at sea, slip past each other,with nothing that stays put;but what I've done amiss does not skip by,but stays: this is life's cruelest pain.Nor can I tell what to pray for, to live on, or be done:it's fearful either way. Come, think with me.Through sins my life's become an aching mess. But if I die,ai! ai! there's no cure then for your old passions!It this is what life appoints for you, its anguish is so greatthat even when ended it holds no end of troubles,but on both sides there's a precipice. What's there to say?This then is what's best,to look towards You along, and Your kindheartedness.