Plurality By Louis MacNeice

Plurality

By Louis MacNeice

It is patent to the eye that cannot face the sun
The smug philosophers lie who say the world is one;
World is other and other, world is here and there,
Parmenides would smother life for lack of air
Precluding birth and death; his crystal never breaks—
No movement and no breath, no progress nor mistakes,
Nothing begins or ends, no one loves or fights,
All your foes are friends and all your days are nights
And all the roads lead round and are not roads at all
And the soul… Click here for this wonderful poem…

NPG P1676; (Frederick) Louis MacNeice by Rollie McKenna

by Rollie McKenna, bromide print, 1954


Ralph Ellison’s Faux Haiku

Albert Murray, Ralph Ellison’s friend, remembers a short poem, which I will call a haiku, from their days as students together: Murray recalls the author of Invisible Man as the smartest-dressed upperclassman at Tuskegee.  Murray was impressed that Ellison always seemed to check out the best books in the library, and he presented a “nascent elegance” in his two-tone shoes, bow tie, contrasting slacks, and whatever else the best haberdasher in Oklahoma had to offer.

Ralph Ellison In Harlem

“I even remember the poetry Ralph wrote,” Murray said:

“‘Death is nothing, / Life is nothing, / How beautiful these two nothings!’ “


Alan Watts At 101

See here for a deep appreciation of Alan Watts written by David Chadwick:

“This January, the English-born Watts would have been 101 old. He’s best known for his important role in the popularization of Zen in the West. His twenty-six books, and his popular radio and television broadcasts, introduced Americans of the 1950s and 1960s to a Zen that was authentic yet contemporary and accessible. In the hundreds of interviews I’ve conducted with practitioners from the early Zen Center days, Watts was the most frequently cited inspiration.

“Yet he was no sectarian. Watts wrote of the perennial philosophy—the unifying core of religion and profound inquiry in all quarters and eras. His approach to wisdom was curious and inclusive, embracing psychology, the natural sciences, art, music, dance, humor, and the enjoyment of nature, of sex, of life.”

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Epictetus on the senses

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“For as the carpenter’s material is wood, and that of the statuary is copper, so the matter of the art of living is each man’s life…

“The question at stake,” said Epictetus, “is no common one; it is this:—Are we in our senses, or are we not?”

– Excerpt From: Epictetus. “A Selection from the Discourses of Epictetus with the Encheiridion.”


Ring Them Bells, brothers and sisters

Ring Them Bells
BY: BOB DYLAN

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Ring them bells, ye heathen
From the city that dreams
Ring them bells from the sanctuaries
’Cross the valleys and streams
For they’re deep and they’re wide
And the world’s on its side
And time is running backwards
And so is the bride

Ring them bells St. Peter
Where the four winds blow
Ring them bells with an iron hand
So the people will know
Oh it’s rush hour now
On the wheel and the plow
And the sun is going down
Upon the sacred cow

Ring them bells Sweet Martha
For the poor man’s son
Ring them bells so the world will know
That God is one
Oh the shepherd is asleep
Where the willows weep
And the mountains are filled
With lost sheep

Ring them bells for the blind and the deaf
Ring them bells for all of us who are left
Ring them bells for the chosen few
Who will judge the many when the game is through
Ring them bells, for the time that flies
For the child that cries
When innocence dies

Ring them bells St. Catherine
From the top of the room
Ring them from the fortress
For the lilies that bloom
Oh the lines are long
And the fighting is strong
And they’re breaking down the distance
Between right and wrong


Clive James on quality TV shows

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The always readable and enlightening Clive James has given us his musing on TV’s renaissance in a series of “notebooks” wrapped around the idea of “binge watching,” which I translate to passionate appreciation. James is one of the great essayists and critics of our era and TV is lucky to have his interest.


Emerson on books

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“Books are the best of things, well used; abused, among the worst. What is the right use? What is the one end which all means go to effect? They are for nothing but to inspire.

“I had better never see a book than to be warped by its attraction clean out of my own orbit, and made a satellite instead of a system.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson