Tetractys for a Pyrrhonic Skeptic

pyrrho

Pyrrho of Elis

The
Only
Thing I know
For certain is
That I don’t know anything for certain.

4/6/18

My ninth poem for National Poetry Writing Month.

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Wisdom and Fools

Wise men know
What they do not know
And doubt what they do know.

Fools don’t know
What they don’t know
And never doubt
That they are right.

4/6/18

My eighth poem for National Poetry Writing Month.

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Beyond Belief

Beyond belief,
Above opinion,
Supporting true knowledge,
Composed of indisputable facts,
Informing wisdom,
Is the Truth.

1/28/18

Looking for Truth

You can look in your books,
Old and new,
Of beginnings and births,
Journeys and exiles,
Looking for truth
In a burning bush,
Or hanging on a Roman tree.

Search the history of time
For big bangs and clouds of gas,
Using probability and fuzzy logic,
Rationality and intellect,
Dialectic and dialogue,
Searching for truth outside the cave
In the depth of a black hole;
In the cry of a baby universe.

You can look inside,
Examine the depths of your soul,
For compassion and humility,
Poetry and purpose,
Knowing the only thing
You can truly know,
Controlling the only thing
You can truly control,
Be present
In the only moment you have,
Looking for truth
Under an Indian fig tree,
With an Athenian gadfly;
Between the pages of an emperor’s journal.

You can look outside,
At starving children on the streets,
At parents slaving to survive,
Living in quiet desperation
At the pleasure of the oligarchs
In the castle on the hill,
500 yards from urine stained crack houses,
6 miles from Robert E. Lee’s hoouse
And the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Looking for truth
In the eyes of a stranger
Or the hand of a friend.

11/13/98-12/28/17

 

Chaos and Cure

Chaos around you:
Be in the world, not of it.
Chaos within you:
Be still, breath,
Be present in this moment,
The only true reality.
Be mindful of your thoughts,
Be aware of your reactions.
The only things you truly control.
Find refuge in the palace of your mind,
That quiet place inside your soul.

10/17-10/23/17

Zeno of Citium

Zeno of Citium

A Cyprian merchant ship
Wrecked on Grecian shores.
Everything lost.
Discovered the wisdom of a dead man
In an Athenian bookstore.
Clutched the robes of a dog
Until he promised to teach
How to desire nothing but virtue.

Graduating from the kennel
To teach on the porch:
A good flow of life
Lived in accordance with nature,
A philosophy that freed
Slaves and emperors alike.

10/21/17

Zeno of Citium (c. 334-c. 262 BCE) was a Hellenistic Philosopher who founded the Stoic School in Athens around 300 BCE.

Plato’s Cave (Tanka)

Shapes on the cave wall
Mind-mist, distorted; unreal
Crawl into the light
Eyes adjust to sunlight
Reality seems insane

10/5/17

This was written in response to Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Challenge No. 53 – MIST & SHAPE.

Still on the Road

Driving down the poison highway
Through the nightmares of my youth:
Saccharine poetry, suicidal thoughts;
Disastrous experiments with vermouth.

Sterilizing self-inflicted wounds
With tequila, scotch and beer.
Bathed in sticky sweat,
Self-loathing, and fear.

Decades down a dusty highway
Through the terrors of middle-age:
Thinning hair; graying beard
Covering the still smoldering rage.

Calming the demons of the mind
With a single chilled glass of mead,
Wounds healed; scars run deep,
And occasionally still bleed.

Seeking release from suffering
In Athens; under an old fig tree.
A chance to finally flourish,
Living life in true equanimity.

9/27/17

The Hunt (tanka)

Searching for answers
To questions forever asked.
Seeking only truth
Following the path ahead
Finding myself on the way.

8/1/17

This is my response to Colleen’s Weekly #Poetry Challenge # 44 – #Haiku #Haibun or #Tanka: HUNT & FIND

The Key

The Key

Sore knees kneeling
Inside darkened doorways,
Pants worn to threads,
Back aching bending,
Peering through the keyhole
To see the world outside.
Pure light stinging,
Eyes tearing,
Cannot look away,
Trying to piece together
What is on the other side.
Family and friends
Huddled behind you
Watching puppet shadows
On the wall.

Open the door
—You’ve always had the key—
Sunlight warm,
Pure, blinding, hurting,
Don’t recoil, or turn away,
Stand; face the day,
Open the shades,
Fill the house with light.

7/21/17-7/26/17

Original keyhole image is by Storye Book. It was found at WikiMedia Commons  & modified by myself using Photoshop.