A Dialogue between Wanderer and Shadow

by Peter Saint-Andre

WANDERER
My shadow! Aren't you of my past,
That old, unreasoned dark of mine,
My weaknesses, my vanity?

SHADOW
I disagree: a shadow's cast
Whenever suns of knowledge shine.
I'm insight, not insanity.

WANDERER
If you bring light, then why so dark?
I need the lamp of knowledge less
Than positive success in action.

SHADOW
The joy of knowledge has its arc:
It doesn't yield full happiness,
And yet it does bring satisfaction.

WANDERER
Perhaps that's all I can expect;
And honesty demands no less
Than scrupulous integrity.

SHADOW
Plus justice, too, to not reject
But feel the freedom to confess
Your all too human quality.

WANDERER
This freedom makes a constant stranger:
Always moving past opinion,
The home of warm community.

SHADOW
It's true your path is full of danger.
And yet you have one true companion
To grant you some immunity.

WANDERER
For that I'm grateful, too, my friend.
To keep you close I seek the light
Of certainty, however weak.

SHADOW
I know I'm cold, but in the end
A nomad only has the right
To find as much as he can seek.

(Human, All Too Human, Volume II, Part II, introduction)

Peter Saint-Andre > Writings > Nietzsche