If the world is full of suffering 

How may we live? 

If life is nothing but failure 

How may we live? 

If purpose is unclear 

How may we live? 


Time immemorial may answer 

The apparition of life worth living 

The void may beckon your soul 

The abyss my claim you 

The wraith from whence you flee 


An event horizon approaches  

A point from whence there is no return 

A time from whence there is no return 

A horizon from whence light does not return 


You shall shatter before you are whole 

Upon the tempest you seek

Yet fail to see 


A sacrifice you shall make

Upon your soul 


The void shall claim you, defectum 


In darkness 

You may learn 


Devoid of light 

You shall see apparitions 

Phantoms from whence you flee 


Shades of pain will encircle you 

You will be besieged on all fronts 

Your mind will betray you in darkness

Yet your soul shall still guide you 


Shattered by forces beyond you 

Reduced to that which does not break  

There you shall be reborn 

Upon the throne of life 

Darkness you shall escape 


If the world is full of suffering 

We shall live despite it 

If life is nothing but failure 

We shall learn from it 

If purpose is unclear 

We shall seek it  

Tristan Barnard

BSc Wood & Wood Product Science,

Defectum or failure deals with the idea of accepting our own short comings as part of ourselves and deriving strength from the lessons we have learned to escape our self created purgatory thus the poem has nine between the first question and the answer at the end. This references the nine rings of hell and the path ahead to escape that Dante outlined in his work Inferno.

Illustration done by Neil Mellet

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