Posts Tagged ‘philosophy’

If I just spoke… like… this…
Then maybe you’d think that I was reciting a poem
Maybe if I sped up my words just a little bit
Or if I slowed         it              down
Em-pha-si-zing each syll-a-ble
Maybe you would think that I had something intelligible to say
Maybe if I become righteously indignant about some cause that you have never heard about
Like the declining wolf population in Montana
Or how the prizes in Cracker Jack boxes just ain’t what they used to be
Or if I used some really complicated, nonsensical metaphor about dragons
That you’ll never understand
Then maybe out of pity, or passion, or confusion
You would snap for me

 But, as it is, this is not a poem

You see, because poetry is philosophy
Hand-scribed like Socrates
Played out like Odyssey
Or Shakespearean tragedy

Poetry is psychology
It’s the Rorschach test
Of the human condition

It’s Frost, Angelou, Yeats, Thoreau
And the “Nevermore” of Edgar Allen

Poetry is science
A hydrologic cycle
Cuz it flows out like water
Makes you shiver like ice
And surrounds you like vapor
Thick when you breathe it in

Poetry is religion
Calling God to God’s attention
Finding faith in frail conditions
In heartfelt cries for repentance
It’s the psalms of desperation
And salvation

Poetry is when truth
Makes love to imagination
And birth out to action

Poetry is a dragon
Yeah, that’s right! A dragon.
It spits fire out your throat
Sets you to flight
And it’s only purpose is to protect the greatest treasures of this world
Not of gold, but love, grace, and human dignity

Poetry is revolution
Breaking chains of institutions
From the quiet hums
To the “We shall overcome’s”
From the beat of a march
To the beatings of people

Poetry is the reflection of sacrifice
It’s the mirror of a martyr
And I am not dead yet

So until lifeless I lay
Over an open page or an open stage
I’ll continue to proclaim

This is not a poem

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In the country of Somalia, the chief philosophers of their country are the poets. But how can the leading ideas about humanity be put through the lens of art, rather than academia?  There seems to be, at first glance, a disjunction between philosophy and poetry. Philosophy tackles issues of knowledge, existence, and values, whereas poetry can discuss anything from sunsets to loneliness.  Philosophy appears to be a left-brained field of study where poetry concerns right-brained creativity.  How can these coincide?  Well, I recently stumbled upon this quote that added value to this discussion:

“Can it be an accident that the most adequate and probably the most lasting exposition of these three schools of philosophy should have been made by poets? Are poets, at heart, in search of a philosophy? Or is philosophy, in the end, nothing but poetry?” Santayana
So is it possible that all philosophy, when stripped bare, is poetry, and all good poetry digs into philosophy?  The more I dwell on this, the more it makes sense.  I believe that poetry is not all flowers and break-up verbal diarrhea. Poetry, in its truest form, is about existence, being human, discerning reality from fiction.

This is why I write poetry. I don’t write as some personal counselling session.  But I write to express the realities of this world, the pain and joy that comes with being human.

So I implore you… rather than engaging in existance and life through distant intellectualism, experience the depths of feeling and thought.  Write a poem. Be a philosopher.