Poem from Old Lecture Notes

Old Notebook

There are two types of knowledge

One
Seeks to use techné
(or technology or magic)
To dominate our surroundings,
Including both nature and
Other human beings

The other
Seeks to use logos
(or reason or the principle of order)
To understand our surroundings
Including ourselves, nature, and others

The second of these might be called
Wisdom

The first might be called
Evil

Heat

Like so many things:
if you want to know how much you need it,
go without it.

The body and spirit, two receptors —
waiting always for emanations,
freezing, lifeless, without them.

The cold can be bracing, filling our lungs
(as when we breathe the air of solitude)
but only when relieved
by the warmth of companionship.

We need the heat between two people,
the glowing pyre of connection
in passing or for keeping.

Bring me in from this Winter!
I’ve done without for too long.
Invite me to share you,
don’t leave me shivering here.

I now truly know:
if you want to know just how much you need something,
go without it.

Fire in the Cold

The Kiss of Demarcation

piano-and-rose

Their eyes had met, but they had really not
Two friends of friends, who’d travelled much the same –
And yet, had not so much as spoken
When they kissed

She kissed him rashly, passion fierce and true
And he responded, in a newfound way
He’d never known – or known he could –
And all was changed.

Clymenenic Sacrifices

Ruins

They hide their meaning with their words:
Achieve academic success,
Attain professional acclaim,
Make a difference to the world.

But when you learn for learning’s sake,
Work at a profession in quiet dignity,
Or make a difference “only” to your family and friends,
You clearly disappoint them.

They will not say it,
But fame is what they seek:
It is all they really want or value,
And cannot understand anyone who does not.

And we see it daily:
Sacrifices to Clymene on television;
Children sacrificed to Clymene in vicarious hope;
Souls sacrificed to Clymene where people work or learn.

Fame constantly needs a sacrifice,
And we constantly oblige:
Women and girls, boys and men,
So many die for her — willingly.

Societal v. Personal

Nothing but greed,” the one side screams –
Nothing but envy,” the other screams back –
So say adherents of the the great movements.

Concerning these things –
Greed and Envy –
There is a constant clamor
That dominates our times.

But down here at my level,
I don’t see much greed;
And very little envy.
Boredom and Loneliness cause most of the harm here:
They’re always lurking, always waiting
And don’t have to be taught.

Jonathnan-van-Smit-26

Vanishing

Image

We humans long for permanence in a world that is nothing but transitory

We grieve for what we’ve lost, even when we knew we would have it for but a day

We mourn the loss of our friends, our family, our youth, our home, our town, our country, knowing from an early age that none of these things are permanent

We curl up with the familiar, in food, in clothing, in music; we curse change in our feeble way, unable to stem the tide, attempting to shield ourselves in the illusion of the unchanging

Our world is perpetually vanishing, and so are we

This is what this life is