Un Bacio

The following piece is a reflection based on both the film Life Is Beautiful and an excerpt from the memoir Sergeant Nibley, Ph.D by Alex Nibley. The title of this piece is the Italian word for a kiss.

A kiss is one of the most powerful things in our small human existence.

Within our lips, our mouths, words and thoughts and beliefs burst forth. Our livelihood comes, partially, from these seemingly simple formations of sounds and syllables that leave our being. Hope and love and passion and love all come from these lips of ours – that is what brings them such importance.

To liken it to something, a blooming flower comes to mind. These flowering petals in shades of pinks and blues and violets and such grow from specks of colour beneath our feet to life-givers that we pluck delicately and place upon our hearts. As they bloom, they whisper words of passion and words of a future yet to come, and these pieces of these flowers spread to the earth and the sky and life goes on. Life goes on, and it is the same, yet completely different, all in part to these blooming flowers.

As we are brought in to this world, we are handed from palms of cold blue latex to rest against the warm beating hearts of the ones that love us from our first breath – and we are blessed with a kiss.

As a mother, with shaking hands and an even shakier mindset, places her son in the clammy grips of war and watches as he is painted in hate and uncertainty and dark hues of green, she must send him off, she must let go for a few years, or for a lifetime – and he is blessed with a kiss.

As a man who doesn’t exist, a man who was written in to being, a man who embodied unconditional love and a conditional sense of innocence, protects his son, who is not real, yet is unbelievably real, he sacrifices his life and his love and his entire, unbelievably amazing being – and he blesses him with a kiss.

As a family of eight very real people are placed in front of a hole filled with dead bodies and a dying dignity, and no one is weeping, because there are seven other people there, and thousands of others yet still, that are with each other, and in such times of hopelessness, that is all they have, gather as one – and they all exchange a few final kisses.

People may not realize this, of course, but I strongly believe in the power of a kiss. Romantic, platonic, familiar, a stranger, it all does not matter.

Behind a kiss there are a hundred thoughts, a thousand feelings, millions of degrees of hope and dreams. Behind every single kiss, there is a human being, and there is a story, and there is love.

A kiss may be the most powerful thing in our small human existence.


Claire B.

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2 thoughts on “Un Bacio

  1. Dearest Claire,

    This piece is breath-taking and awe-inspiring in all that it is, so thank you for writing this.

    I love that this is what went through your mind as you reflected on Life is Beautiful and Sergeant Nibley, Ph.D – there is such a juxtaposition between the heaviness of those two pieces and the forceful lightness presented in yours. Perhaps that’s what made this piece so powerful. The juxtaposition between the aforementioned emphasizes the idea that there is beauty and lightness waiting to be found in the direst of circumstances. It illuminates the message you present in this piece adeptly as well – a kiss is the light that shines in the darkest times. The kisses exchanged in both Life is Beautiful and Sergeant Nibley, Ph.D are what make their messages so potent. A kiss brings with it life, and that is what those eight people did as they stood before their grave, waiting to get shot. They found life at the feet of death.

    For a short moment, I had to allow myself to step back and let what you have written sink in, for it hit me so forcefully, in such an unexpected way. So thank you for allowing me and the rest of the world to have the privilege of reading such a piece. I truly savored every word you wrote.

    If there is anything I could tell you in terms of editing, I would say that “into” might sound better in the phrase “a man written in to being.”

    Yours very truly,


  2. Dearest Claire,

    After I read this piece, my view was changed completely on the idea of a kiss. It seems like such a small gesture, giving someone a kiss before they leave, or to show how much you love them, but now I understand how much meaning it can have.

    Your voice in this was beautiful and almost poetic. I loved the use of anaphora and I found the dashes really effective, which in most cases I don’t. I also adore how you compared a kiss to a flower. The phrase, “ As they bloom, they whisper words of passion” literally took my breath away.

    I look forward to reading more of your lovely writing.

    With love,


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