top of page

Sapere aude

There’s an island behind me,

And I can’t turn around.

Accidental providence.

I saw it,

From the outré vantage

Of my comfortable bed.


Complete with trees.

Taller than my neck could bend.

So Vanapagan,

That they couldn’t shield one

From the hurting Sun.

Living pillars.

Water surrounded everything,

Between my bed and the island.

Sand had long slid by,

With your warmth,

Into oblivion.

Leaving behind an abundance

Of clammy water,

And then some dearth.

Stagnant water stinks.

Yet this island shone,

A beacon of its own.

Maybe it was the

Possibility of a ground.

Of sand to step on,

Even if it were red hot.

Of stoic gravity

That since,

Couldn’t caresses me,

In full.

Crescent embrace.

And so I swam.

For three whole replays

Of all that had passed;

Now cast in stone,

Within the creaking doors

That hold shrouded memories.

Doors without rooms.

And here I stand,

Away from water at last.

The warmth I sought,

Burns in the Sun.

The trees brim with memories

Of their own.

And the sand,

The sand slips away from under me;

Quick in its hunger,

Slowly capsizing to reality.

I turn around,

And now I see it.

Four clammy legs

And a mattress.

There’s an island in front of me.

And now,

I know,

I’m destined to make a home;

In the waters

That never drown.

Sapere aude is a latin phrase meaning "Dare to know". Immanuel Kant (German philosopher) borrowed this phrase from Horace (a Latin poet) when penning down his answer to the question "What is Enlightenment?". Here's his answer for your reference:

It is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one’s own understanding without guidance from someone else. This immaturity is self-imposed if its cause lies not in any lack of understanding but in indecision and in the lack of courage to use one’s own mind without the help of someone else. Sapere aude! Have the courage to use your own understanding is therefore the motto of the Enlightenment.

(Horace incidentally used it in the First Book of Letters (20BC). The phrase penned down is pretty much one we all know since childhood, probably our dads' favorites': Dimidium facti, qui coepit, habet; sapere aude, incipe - He who has begun is half done; dare to know; begin!)

Ref 2: Vanatühi"or "Vanapagan" is the devil or God of the underworld, a giant farmer who is more stupid than malevolent - a mythological creature in Estonian culture. The reference to Vanapagan broadly intends to metaphorize the fact that the tree itself was not malicious, but oblivious to its purpose in this case.

Now, make of the title what you will, and the piece is yours to know and ruminate over. Happy Sunday!

Recent Posts

See All



bottom of page