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The Beginning of Philosophy.

The Beginning Of Philosphy

 We've reached that time of night when repetition
 starts to look like the best kind of argument,
 so I keep insisting it was wrong--meaning
 what they did to the remake of Cat People.
 No, my friend replies, just different,
 more attentive to the worries of the moment.
 But I prefer the old worries: rustling branches,
 footsteps in the fog, the hiss of the bus
 that wasn't a panther, but will be.
 Why do we need to see so much?

 To know what we're afraid of, he says,
 and since it's late I tell him this is like
 the beginning of philosophy all over again--
 one proposition, then another,
 and after a few thousand years we're back
 to what's true, or only seems to be:
 flickering light on the wall, that confusion
 of shadows. How still the room becomes.
 A little rain touches the windows, and both of us
 mention other movies in which not even love
 could repair the past. Then the snow
 mixes in. And yet, my friend says,
 by morning all this could change.
 No nagging doubts, no secret afflictions--
 as if the light had burned them away.

 And a man might find himself
 wondering about the sky instead.
 Why is it so blue? Why do we feel
 different when the sun grabs hold of us?
 Why do we need to be sure of anything?


I love the art of poetry: where else can a silly late-night argument about a B-movie evoke something as serious as the origins of philosophy? As the film's flickering light sends us back to Plato's cave, we remember that we are still creatures afraid of the dark who "feel different when the sun grabs hold of us." To allay our fears we are still seeking truth, still asking question after question of each other and the universe.

--Kathleen Norris
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Title Annotation:POETRY/A New Way of Understanding
Author:Raab, Lawrence
Publication:Spirituality & Health Magazine
Article Type:Poem
Date:Jan 1, 2012
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