Friday, June 18, 2004

This World Is Not My Home

Again, someone else has managed to verbalise exactly the same feelings I've been through myself, all my life...

"I never felt like I was part of this planet. I felt that all this was a dream, that it wasn't real. And suffering... I just couldn't connect... My mind would never accept the fact that is like it's supposed to be. I always felt that there was something wrong. I couldn't explain it. My people kept saying, 'Why are you unhappy? You never seem to be happy.' And that was true. I had this touch of sadness in the midst of other people's parties; other people were having a good time, but I would have a moment of loneliness and sadness. It puzzled me, therefore I had to analyze that, and I decided I was different, that's all. I must have come from somewhere else." - Sun Ra (1914-1993)

"This World Is Not My Home"
by Sun Ra

Is this a planet of life?
Then why do people die?
This is not life, this is death.
Can't you understand?

You're only dreaming.
You're not real here.
You're only dreaming
you did all the things
you did before you died

You're asleep.
Wake up before it's too late
and you die in a dream.

This world is not the real world.
It's all illusion. It's not real.
Can't you feel that this world is not real?
Someone cast a magic spell
on the people of planet Earth.

If you do right they put you in jail.
If you do wrong they put you in jail.
You can't win.
You got to do something else.
You got to get away from here.

You make death your master.
You're not free.
If you're free, why do you bow to death?
Is that what you mean by liberty?
Stop bowing down to your master called death.
If you're free, prove it.


This interview excerpt and Sun Ra's poem are from John F. Szwed's book Space Is The Place. The Life and Times of Sun Ra (1997).


Sun Ra was all through his life preoccupied with the idea of death, that every living creature has to die after its allotted lifespan.

I don't worry myself about death that much, though. I'm not afraid of dying; I'm only afraid that I would have to leave while I've still got unfinished business here on Earth -- and at the moment I've got plenty of that. Instead, I worry about life. Let the dead bury their dead, and let's not forget that everyone of us is just one rung in the ladder.

Besides, Sun Ra did not die: he only left this planet behind, just like a passing visitor that he was -- and we all are.