Regular walkers on Hampstead Heath will probably recognise this epitaph. It’s carved into one of the benches on the path leading up to Parliament Hill and attributed to the, little known, Iranian writer Parviz Owsia.
I love the sound of the words. The subtle rhythm of them is strangely haunting, but, frustratingly, it’s hard to fathom their meaning.
The poet Benjamen Zephaniah was equally struck by the power of these few words. They inspired him to write a poem, which he performed in a beautiful short film shot on Hampstead Heath, directed by Natasha Serlin. You can watch it here:
He invokes his own meaning, allowing the essence of this snippet of poetry to become a description of his own personal history.
It’s curious how powerful words can be. You don’t even have to understand them. There’s something magical about the combination here. They creep into the brain and lodge there. (A little like Squarehead’s round thought!)
One interpretation I came across suggested that Owsia was talking about the future – it’s born tomorrow, lives today and dies yesterday. Could that be it?