Life & Arts Fiction

POEM: Philosophy

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The famous Greek philosophers (image via

This poem is an *IA Writing Competition (fiction category) entry.


POEM: Philosophy

Around forty years ago I attempted to write a song,
Which is what one did at that exploratory age:
And the first lines of this one went –
“I’m a philosopher; I play with things inside your head.
I plague you all your life, and even when you’re dead”

Today I was reading a book
“The Philosopher – A History in Six Types”
By Justin E. H. Smith, who knows a lot about philosophy,
And it set me thinking.
So I put the book down and cleaned the shower.

Some might argue that this has nothing to do with philosophy.
But I counter that this shows the true depth of my understanding,
Because my simple action will please my wife
And when my wife is pleased my life is charmed.
Thus, I am a very motivated philosopher.

I can demonstrate that the sound of one hand clapping
Is achieved in a ‘high-five’,
Where one hand from two individuals slap together;
Coincidentally demonstrating the truism
Of John Donne’s “No Man is an Island”.

And might I be the first person, to point out
That the yin-yang symbol of Taoism
(So intriguing to the complex Mr Jung)
Represents a cross-section view of the double-helix DNA molecule,
Uniting the past and the future in a single moment?

Many former mysteries of philosophy
Can be explained in so many ways before our eyes:
Like watching an episode of Seinfeld or The Simpsons,
Like seeing a spider spin its web,
Like noting the timeless rituals of courtship.

Some modern schools of thought
Would deny that Einstein is a philosopher
Even though he helped us to understand
Many questions we ask of why we are here.
Some philosophers get tongue-tied when they speak of Einstein.

What I love about philosophy
Is that it is not bound by religion or race:
It does not belong to any club or brand.
It simply offers a bridge of reason
To take us from here to there.

“I’m a philosopher
I play with things inside your head;
I plague you all your life,
And even when you’re dead.
Just one more voice trying, to say the things that can’t be said.”

Dermot Daley is a fourth-generation Australian living in Victoria, who is now retired from construction project management​​​​.

* Full IA Writing Competition details HERE.

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