Thursday, July 13, 2017

On Plato and Poetry

Plato avows that poetry is a sham;
a mirror of a mirror, twice removed
from Truth. Of course, if you believe, like him,
reality is really that realm of Ideas,
And poetry represents this world of gross
material, then what can it seem to you
But counterfeit of counterfeit of Truth?
Yet Aristotle tells us poetry is
the mash of history and philosophy:
the universal lumped into the concrete.
If that is so, why poetry has no choice
but lie, and in so doing tell the truth.
So Plato plays the Socrates, and Ion,
Glaucon, Protagoras, Crito, Meno,
servants, slaves, kings, Athenians and Greeks
and foreign menlying to us, because
the fact is they are not themselves but Plato,
Plato who knows full well his dialogues
are plays, his characters are parts, the actors
are his reader's minds, and knows that he
can show the truth by telling lies. You see,
when Socrates expelled the poets from
his city, he did so in poetry,
and he himself was Plato's poem
he was inviting us to view the truth
behind his lie, and see that poetry,
like some old man who tells some kid
a made-up fable to instruct, who could
be you, or me, or Socrates, does lie
in story, but it leaves instruction for
the taking. So does Plato, never saying
what is it that he means or where he stands,
to show that since the universal in
concreteness lives and by concreteness is
perceived, and poetry never aims
at being true in the concrete, it's free
from truth to show the truth by saying false:
the truth is that in fiction lies the truth.

Thursday, June 22, 2017


Time has come to stop and go. To stop
still waiting for the time to come, and go
and come to time myself. Climb to the top
of the hill, having arrived there on, you know,
my own, for as the saying goes, the hill
does not respond even to that prophet's word
why would it then attend to mine? The will
that doesn't move will win, and that unheard
willcan do nothing but consent. So this
is me going the distance, watching far
in the horizon as the mountain bliss
draws closer, closer drawing where we are.
            Though time is ever moving and unmoved,
            By going to it comes, that's how it's moved.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Off the Glass

The sun, reflected off a car window,
and then reflected off a flat window
it sparks a flash within my bathroom door.
This sudden blindness, gone in a blink, calls for
an explanation, something to bring me to ground,
and that reboundthat was the cause I found.
How powerful the sun, to reach me at
a third-step remove in place from where he sat,
Three windows distant from his burning glory.
A power so great is bound to reach my body,
And burn my cells just like the sun does not.
            It fires up my blood with living fun,
            Alive from the flaming energy of the sun,
            To tell the world that life has just begun.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Profession of Love

O Muse of fire, that sometime didst me love,
Though oft I boast I never was untrue
To any lover, grant I must thereof
The fallacy; much meaner love than you,
For meaner looks, in lieu of you I took,
And made thee mistress for some chance occasion,
Then ever chancer, and, 'fore long, forsook
Thee. How now, by what art of honeyed suasion
Shall then thee back, O child of memory,
I win? I know no art, my former heart,
Than this that thou through love didst give to me;
And now, without thy heart, I have no art.
            Yet love me with your lyre, I implore
            Erato, I shall love you evermore.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Vinicius de Moraes - The Sonnet of Fidelity

Of all, I to my love shall pay attention
Firstly, and with such zeal, and faith, and bind
That even in the face of greater find
It shall be found anew by my invention.
I want to live it in each vain occasion
And in ovation I shall spread songs rhymed
And laugh my laugh and drop tears whined
To your regret or yet to your elation
So that, when later I shall be sought past
Perhaps by death, the anguish of the living,
Perhaps by solitude, end of the loving,
I can be told about the love (I claim):
Let not it be immortal, since it's flame,
But be it endless all the while it last.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Camões - To the Discord of the World

The good I've ever seen go
In life through grievous torment;
And to my greater off-throw
The bad I've ever seen row
On oceans of contentment.
Proposing to reach this sea
Of good in such bad discord
I was bad
and still was I floored;
You see, it's only for me
The World has been in concord.