ANOTHER NEW POEM FROM THE SCARRIET EDITORS

VARIATIONS

Too freedom-loving and sophisticated
To hear my plea to read Plato’s magnificent Republic,
A work they didn’t want to read, or hated,
Yes, Plato, had definite notions of healthy and sick,
Believing good and bad are the same for art and life
As health should be the aim, whether blood or verse,
All one, loved wife, love poem, picture loved of loved wife,
To be better—But, they said, you’re only making it worse
With your claims of the moral, the rational, the good—
But what do you mean? I asked, do you want bad, instead?
—One leaf on one tree is the whole of Plato’s wood,
He wants to make all difference all one, all dead,
So he can shape dead things to his ideal—
But I said: you do that; he separates false from real;
You mingle bad and good, which only the bad do,
I say good’s a word; forever the word “good” and good are two,
But all seek the good, and that’s good, isn’t that true?

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40 Comments

  1. tom said,

    December 12, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Well, I think that’s true.

    Lay off the acid, alright?

  2. tom said,

    December 12, 2011 at 11:37 am

    I don’t think you really care about the good.

  3. tom said,

    December 12, 2011 at 11:58 am

    You chose the deformed, ugly, and infamous.

    The grass, or whatever it was, was indeed GREENER.

  4. tom said,

    December 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Scarriet doesn’t care about black people!

  5. tom said,

    December 12, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    You’re such a coward. It’s so sad.

    Well, ‘stick with what you know’…

  6. tom said,

    December 12, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    omfg the ‘about scarriet’ is killing me lol WOT

  7. tom said,

    December 12, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    love, Mallie Urn

  8. tom said,

    December 12, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Srsly, swinging a sock puppet full of bile around like a fake dick at an awp orgy is not what I call “poetry”

    fuck you thomas brady. fuck you and your fucking fucks.

  9. tom said,

    December 12, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    how you like the republic now, dawg

  10. tom said,

    December 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    i know what you do like!!!!

    republicans!!!! give lots of $$$$$$$ to the ayn rand IDF fund!!!!

    good going, dude

    If i ever see you I will BOX YOUR EARS, heartily, with zeal

  11. tom said,

    December 12, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I will wipe that smug smirk right off your face. i’ll be that asshole you’ve heard so much about. come on – name a time and a place – I challenge you to a duel. you have dishonored me and my family.

  12. tom said,

    December 12, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Face the music, Diogenes, you bitch

  13. tom said,

    December 12, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Thanks for teaching me how to comment.

  14. tom said,

    December 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Tell Alan I said hi. Hi Alan, it’s Mallie.

  15. tom said,

    December 12, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    I seriously don’t know why my name is Tom. i created this account ages ago.

  16. tom said,

    December 12, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Fuck youuuuuuuuuuu, KRITIK, FUCK YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

  17. tom said,

    December 12, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    You think you’re so smart, running after “the zeitgeist”

    over here with your puke green blog talking about Plato

    Ha! Oh! NOW he’s speaking of Plato!

    I suppose that’s where a man has to go when he’s so near to death

    That’s why we know it’s the truth

    Oh, but you’ll forget again won’t you

    wont you wont you

  18. tom said,

    December 12, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    trying to explain motherfucking plato to fucking aleister crowley

    get yourself together man

  19. tom said,

    December 12, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    i love you

  20. tom said,

    December 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    No, this is not monday love – get out!

    my real name is mallie grave, but my blog name is thomas kincaid.

  21. tom said,

    December 12, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Wait, are you Monday Love. No, I must be mistaken…

    WOT

  22. tom said,

    December 12, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Hi Monday Love, it’s Mallie. Hope everything’s cool there in Harvard Square.

    Of course you’re Monday Love, of course… Whew! Okay. One googles another name and there you are. Where aren’t you, really, except here, with me?

  23. thomasbrady said,

    December 12, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Holy hell

  24. tom said,

    December 12, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    love u

  25. David said,

    December 17, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Hi Tom,

    Sorry to interrupt the conversation. :-)

    I found your blog via John Gallaher’s blog, where I participated in the lively discussion on Plato’s Republic. I’m a general lay reader, not part of the poetry biz at all. I write occasional poems and post them on my blog, These Anointed Ruins. In recent years I’ve spent (wasted) much of my time on religious (Catholic) blogs, where I’ve grown tired of the factional infighting. So refreshing to see that there’s none of that sort of thing on poetry blogs. ;-)

    Look forward to following the discussions here and will try to contribute something of value now and then.

    Cheers,
    David

  26. David said,

    December 17, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    I’m not a spambot.

    • thomasbrady said,

      December 17, 2011 at 5:54 pm

      Oh, I know, David. You are a prize from Gallaher’s blog. The corks are popping at the ‘riet. I have long dreamed of raiding more distinguished poetry sites of their intelligent and open-minded participants. With great joy I bid you welcome.

      Is there less controversy in discussing Christianity in its pagan disguises?

      Brady

  27. David said,

    December 17, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Thank you, Tom. Interesting question, and I think that you might be right. I believe that there is much to be gained by discussing Christianity “in disguise”. A case in point (if I’m not reading too much between the lines) is your commentary on Shakespeare’s Sonnets, which I’m reading with keen interest. In fact, I’m inspired now to set aside Transtromer for the moment and “dust off my Shakespeare” — in the form of my crinkled Dover edition of the Sonnets. I’d be interested to know if there are other editions that you recommend.

    Cheers,
    David

  28. thomasbrady said,

    December 18, 2011 at 12:18 am

    David,

    The 1609 quarto edition. Modern editors have taken quite a lot of liberties with the text. The 1640 edition might even be worth a look. The Signet edition has Auden’s introduction, which is pretty loony, but is the standard commentary. Any edition with thorough notes is good, but reliance on notes is a two-edged sword, and trusting any edition is hazardous, since we don’t know what Shakespeare approved. I recently took a free calendar in a Catholic church, hoping it might offer some clues to the Sonnets. I haven’t had a chance to really look at it, and my knowledge of Christian symbolism is poor. John the Baptist’s nativity in June ushering in diminishing light and Christ’s in December, increasing light is a trope which might bear fruit. John, compared to the rooster crowing in the darkness, or a night light, a smaller light before the large one might be at play in the Sonnets’ light which is a shadow in shadow, the light of dreams that makes “black night beauteous,” a Plato’s cave “light” that Shakespeare works a lot. I have a hunch there’s more religion (and Plato!) in the Sonnets than the (largely secular) commentators are finding, and I’m more and more convinced that the whole ‘Young Man/Dark Lady’ tradition ‘story’ is a distraction.

    Tom

  29. December 18, 2011 at 3:28 am

    For David, the Catholic:

    Bewildered

    How reconcile this paradox,
    this Creator who loves creation,
    with the brutality and blood
    that makes it turn,
    the endless flow of life,
    forms granted their existence
    by the eating of each other,
    the bewildered, starving young
    still awaiting their dead mother?

    How resolve this lack of compassion,
    this cruelly designed summation
    by the One who loves us all,
    those lost to fire and fang and flood
    or blown from nests in storms?

    We will reason, for we are human,
    and create our fine Religions
    which our reason then deforms.

    Copyright 2010 – Ponds and Lawns-New and Corrected Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald

  30. David said,

    December 18, 2011 at 5:23 am

    Tom,

    I’ve found an online version of the Sonnets that includes a basic commentary and a facsimile of the 1609 quarto. This is my new reading project over the coming weeks. Thanks for the suggestions!

    Gary — thanks for the poem. It’s timely. My son is home from college for the Christmas holidays, under the banner of his newly embraced atheism. We had a spirited debate yesterday, which left me bewildered to say the least. :-) Your poem echoes a number of my son’s objections to religion.

  31. December 18, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Here’s the only church I’d ‘tend
    In North Americay—
    A Bach cantata every week
    Keeps B’elzebub at bay.

    http://www.emmanuelmusic.org/calendar_tickets/11-12season/caltix11-12_cantatas.htm

  32. thomasbrady said,

    December 18, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    The knotty problem of why would God make a world in which there is so much sorrow and horror is solved quite easily by a theology which posits that God is good and creates only good and evil has nothing to do with this God who is good, and to contemplate good is to contemplate God, and that’s where the artist/citizen/philosopher should begin. Plato begins with this, I believe.

    It’s not something I can easily get my head around, but I just thought I’d throw it out there.

    • marcusbales said,

      December 19, 2011 at 2:57 am

      Someone ought to tell you, Tom,
      Although I guess you’ll think it odd
      And maybe something of a bomb —
      There really isn’t any god.

      • Nooch said,

        December 19, 2011 at 4:37 pm

        To Marcus Bales I always hearken,
        And here detect the shade of Larkin!

      • thomasbrady said,

        December 19, 2011 at 10:33 pm

        What I find especially odd
        Is how can we know there is no God?
        To know we know we cannot see
        Is not to know what we shall be.
        I knew a man faithful only when he sang,
        Who said prayers only when bells rang,
        But when he spoke plainly, like you and I,
        God was nowhere close to his eye.

  33. David said,

    December 18, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    And the enemy death shall be destroyed last … (1 Cor 15:26)

    If there were no sorrow and horror on this earth, there would still be death. Tom — is it possible that the so-called “Dark Lady” is death?

    • thomasbrady said,

      December 19, 2011 at 11:04 pm

      David —”Is the Dark Lady Death?” Sonnet 127 is a hard nut to crack, to figure out what Shakespeare means when he says, “In the old age black was not counted fair” and “now is black beauty’s successive heir…” If black in #127 is death, is he referring to an edenic existence before death when he says “the old age?” So now that death exists, and takes so much beauty away, death has become beautiful? He attacks art in #127, too: “since each hand has put on nature’s power,/Fairing the foul with art’s false borrowed face…” Back in #65 we get, “in black ink my love may still shine bright” (similar sentiment in #63) and in # 43, “in dreams they [my eyes] look on thee/And, darkly bright, are bright in dark directed. Then thou, whose shadow shadows doth make bright…” Darkness could be death, sure. In #17, “my verse” is compared to a “tomb” which “hides your life…” I think Shakespeare was an optimist, and believed death was merely darkness before the dawn…

  34. December 19, 2011 at 2:34 am

    David said:

    “Gary — thanks for the poem. It’s timely. My son is home from college for the Christmas holidays, under the banner of his newly embraced atheism. We had a spirited debate yesterday, which left me bewildered to say the least. :-) Your poem echoes a number of my son’s objections to religion.”

    David, this is for your son:

    Faith

    Put your faith in Nature,
    in the sea and stars and the magic
    of the mind.
    Put your faith in being,
    in particles and thunderstorms
    and time.
    Put your faith in living,
    how you always seem to
    somehow stumble through.
    Put your faith in you.
    God did.

    Copyright 2010 – Ponds and Lawns-New and Corrected Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald

  35. David said,

    December 19, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Thanks, Gary, I like the gentle irony in that one.


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