I see my thoughts reflected here
In poetry dreamy and clear:
Does the mountain really love the lake?
Or is this only a poet’s mistake?
Should the bashful love the shy?
Or should like let like pass by?
I would write her a line but this
Might be less efficient than a kiss,
As the intellect, used by desire,
With its over-thinking douses the fire.
Can we ever learn too much?
Can thinking ruin passion’s touch?
Having been with those books all day,
The learned wants to be away
From learning and ruins with desire
All that meant to put out the fire,
As the lover, with intelligent lip,
Frightens his mistress with a sudden grip.
All is lost!  As if the lofty mountain
Used mere bulk to love the fountain.


1 Comment

  1. Bob Tonucci said,

    May 24, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    Joseph Epstein’s essay ‘An Extremely Well Informed SOB’, pivots on a chance encounter with a line from Raymond Chandler:

    Drinking coffee, I read a letter that Chandler wrote in 1950 to a friend which said that he was about to cancel his subscription to the ‘Saturday Review of Literature’. He had decided that it wasn’t good enough to warrant brining into a house already overloaded with magazines, despite the magazine’s claim to improve readers’ minds. ‘But I must be one of the few living Americans who do not crave to have their minds improved,’ Chandler wrote. ‘I know too much already. I would be happier knowing less.’

    This leads Mr. Epstein, eventually, to the following:

    One could, I suppose, be informed, knowledgeable, and hip all at once—though clogging one’s mind with much useless information would be a strain—but no one could be all three things and cultivated into the bargain. To be cultivated is, of the four possibilities, the most desirable. I have had a few friends who have achieved this elevated status. The cultivated not only know a great deal but, more important, they know what is significant—they know, not to put too fine a point on it, what is really worth knowing… Part of being a cultivated person is knowing what to forget.

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