• T Clark
    3.2k
    Philosophical Poems

    From “West Running Brook” – Robert Frost

    Our life runs down in sending up the clock.
    The brook runs down in sending up our life.
    The sun runs down in sending up the brook.
    And there is something sending up the sun.
    It is this backward motion toward the source,
    Against the stream, that most we see ourselves in,
    The tribute of the current to the source.
    It is from this in nature we are from.
    It is most us.

    From “For Anne Gregory” – William Butler Yeats

    I heard an old religious man
    But yesternight declare
    That he had found a text to prove
    That only God, my dear,
    Could love you for yourself alone
    And not your yellow hair.


    From “Tao Te Ching” – Lao Tzu

    If you want to shrink something,
    you must first allow it to expand.
    If you want to get rid of something,
    you must first allow it to flourish.
    If you want to take something,
    you must first allow it to be given.
    This is called the subtle perception
    of the way things are.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k


    Time mashup:

    In its flow, in its motion
    The past can never live up to the present,
    especially when the color is yellow.
    Nature's rhythm enables those who listen.
  • T Clark
    3.2k
    In its flow, in its motion
    The past can never live up to the present,
    especially when the color is yellow.
    Nature's rhythm enables those who listen.
    Cavacava

    Is that your own? Don't make me bring out my poetry. Things could get ugly.
  • Wallows
    7.5k
    I never understood poetry outside of English class lessons analyzing them. I feel like I'm missing out on something but have difficulty in understanding poems as they can be quite deep in meaning.
  • T Clark
    3.2k
    I never understood poetry outside of English class lessons analyzing them. I feel like I'm missing out on something but have difficulty in understanding poems as they can be quite deep in meaning.Posty McPostface

    For me, poetry either works or it doesn't. Most of it doesn't. If it doesn't for you, that's just the way things go.
  • Wallows
    7.5k
    For me, poetry either works or it doesn't. Most of it doesn't. If it doesn't for you, that's just the way things go.T Clark

    I did like the “Tao Te Ching” – Lao Tzu poem though.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k
    Time present and time past
    Are both perhaps present in time future,
    And time future contained in time past.
    If all time is eternally present
    All time is unredeemable.
    What might have been is an abstraction
    Remaining a perpetual possibility
    Only in a world of speculation.
    What might have been and what has been
    Point to one end, which is always present.
    Footfalls echo in the memory
    Down the passage which we did not take
    Towards the door we never opened
    Into the rose-garden. My words echo
    Thus, in your mind.
    But to what purpose
    Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
    I do not know.
    Other echoes
    Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?
    Quick, said the bird, find them, find them,
    Round the corner. Through the first gate,
    Into our first world, shall we follow
    The deception of the thrush? Into our first world.
    There they were, dignified, invisible,
    Moving without pressure, over the dead leaves,
    In the autumn heat, through the vibrant air,
    And the bird called, in response to
    The unheard music hidden in the shrubbery,
    And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses
    Had the look of flowers that are looked at.
    There they were as our guests, accepted and ac-
    cepting.
    So we moved, and they, in a formal pattern,
    Along the empty alley, into the box circle,
    To look down into the drained pool.
    Dry the pool, dry concrete, brown edged,
    And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,
    And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,
    The surface glittered out of heart of light,
    And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.
    Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.
    Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of chil-
    dren,
    Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.
    Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
    Cannot bear very much reality.
    Time past and time future
    What might have been and what has been
    Point to one end, which is always present.

    -Burnt Norton I, from Four Quartets, by T.S. Elliot
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k
    Damn, I get something new out of that every time I re-read it.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k


    I think great poetry, like any art form, works on multiple levels. It should suck you in viscerally and emotionally, but have enough depth that you can reflect on it later, analyze it, and gain something new from it. And once that cycle has completed, and begins again, the new info you've gleaned through analysis influences the fresh, visceral experience of re-reading. This is how a poem gains depth. And yes, the poem is what gains depth over time, because your individual experience of the poem is what's undergoing an evolution.
  • T Clark
    3.2k
    Time past and time future
    What might have been and what has been
    Point to one end, which is always present.
    Noble Dust

    I have never liked T.S. Elliot, but I liked that. I wonder if it's because I'm almost 66.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k


    Dunno; I'm much younger than that but love him. Was your dislike because of The Wasteland, by any chance? Edit: saw what you quoted, re: age. Never mind. I like the time stuff because it's confusing, but intuitively feels right.

    Four Quartets is a must read, to me. That's just the first section; it's about 50 pages long, and all equally as arcane, profound, annoying, and beautiful. It's the kind of long form poem I'll be reading for the rest of my life, and always gleaning something new from.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k


    Also, Elliot studied philosophy, and then turned to poetry later. The minimalist composer Steve Reich did the same thing, turning to music.
  • T Clark
    3.2k
    Dunno; I'm much younger than that but love him. Was your dislike because of The Wasteland, by any chance? Edit: saw what you quoted, re: age. Never mind. I like the time stuff because it's confusing, but intuitively feels right.Noble Dust

    It's just that the way he talks about time matches how it feels looking back. Not exactly the same thing - but I often feel as if everything that ever happened in my life is still happening. My whole life is happening at once. Things that happened 50 years ago are just as real, and close at hand, as things that happened yesterday. My father, who died in 2001, is just as much with me as he was then.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k


    That makes sense; I was made aware of that to a small degree when I was in therapy; living with regret or shame causes us to live in the past, or rather, the past is living with us in the present. Hopefully there's positive applications of that as well.

    Actually, re: Elliot as a philosopher-turned-poet, I love how in that first section of Burnt Norton, he sets out a philosophical proposition, and then, rather than providing a logical argument, he paints a dream-like picture of the surreal concept of "what might have been and what has been" (all of which occurs in "the rose-garden"). And then finishes off the section with a re-statement of the proposition. The way he creates that world, through imagination, feels more "real" than a logical proof attempting the same goal.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k
    Now it is time that gods came walking out
    of lived-in Things...
    Time that they came and knocked down every wall
    inside my house. New page. Only the wind
    from such a turning could be strong enough
    to toss the air as a shovel tosses dirt:
    a fresh-turned field of breath. O gods, gods!
    who used to come so often and are still
    asleep in the Things around us, who serenely
    rise and at wells that we can only guess at
    splash icy water on your necks and faces,
    and lightly add your restedness to what seems
    already filled to bursting: our full lives.
    Once again let it be your morning, gods.
    We keep repeating. You alone are source.
    With you the world arises, and your dawn
    gleams on each crack and crevice of our failure...

    -Rainer Maria Rilke, from Uncollected Poems (1923-1926)
  • Janus
    7k


    No, it's because you're more than 65.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    821
    From Wallace Stevens Esthetique du Mal:

    XII

    He disposes the world in categories, thus:
    The peopled and the unpeopled. In both, he is
    Alone. But in the peopled world, there is,
    Besides the people, his knowledge of them. In
    The unpeopled, there is his knowledge of himself.
    Which is more desperate in the moments when
    The will demands that what he thinks be true?

    Is it himself in them that he knows or they
    In him? If it is himself in them, they have
    No secret from him. If it is they in him,
    He has no secret from them. This knowledge
    Of them and of himself destroys both worlds,
    Except when he escapes from it. To be
    Alone is not to know them or himself.

    This creates a third world without knowledge,
    In which no one peers, in which the will makes no
    Demands. It accepts whatever is as true,
    Including pain, which, otherwise, is false.
    In the third world, then, there is no pain. Yes, but
    What lover has one in such rocks, what woman,
    However known, at the centre of the heart?
  • Moliere
    1.6k
    https://www.gutenberg.org/files/785/785-h/785-h.htm

    Perhaps a bit obvious, but worth noting all the same.
  • S
    9.7k
    Philosophy, philosophy,
    Bad for your head.
    The more you think,
    The more your brain farts.
    The more your brain farts,
    The worse you think.
    So let's pour philosophy down the sink.
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