Philosopher (F. H. Bradley) (Poem)

I do realize that poetry–or an attempt at it–about obscure dead philosophers is not exactly a growth industry…

 

Philosopher (F. H. Bradley)

I do not know whether this in my case is a mark of senility, but I find myself now taking more and more as literal fact what I used in my youth to admire and love as poetry.”  –Bradley

McTaggart, on meeting Bradley:  “I felt as if a Platonic Idea had walked into the room.”

He lives
Stretched
Taut between
Appearance and reality

Overdone with
Metaphysics

Perhaps

Underdone with
Virtue

He does not much leave the house

As if drumly
Knowledge
Of the Good
Could substitute
For living
In its light

“On all questions, if you push me far enough, at present I end in doubts and             perplexities.”

He lives
Systemless
Amid systems
Without a view
In an age
Of worldviews

“The older I grow, the more I recoil from any forced venture in the dark.”

Mortal
And so
Wounded
He picks
The scab

Nothing is
Removed from
Existence by
Being labelled
“Appearance”

He lives
Stuck
With it all

All is real
Even if not
Really real

His habitual mood
Diffident bewilderment–
It is all too
Too much

There is
No lorica
No padding
Against it all

Vulnerability
Is demanded

Bleeding

Is conclusive
Acknowledgement
Of the real

An opened
Wound
The sign
Of self-sacrifice

 

Increscunt animi, virescit volnere virtus

 

Philosophy demands
That he extinguish
Spiritual pride
But nothing
Kindles that fire
More

Vanity snuffs
Wisdom

So he must
Not think

He can save
Anyone else

The trouble
Of thinking

The goal
Is to stimulate
Thoughts on
First principles
And not
To supply them

The love
Of wisdom
Is love
Unsatisfied

In the twilight
He sounds out
The idols

He has ears even behind his ears

His truths
Are borne
In time

He lives
Stretched absolutely taut
Between dogmatism
And skepticism

Yes
And
No

2 responses

  1. Absolutly terrific!

    You mentioned some time ago a second book of your poetry to be published. Has it happened?

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