A friend of mine at Facebook, noting my affinity for the thinking of philosopher Martha Nussbaum, asked me to recommend a book of hers which he might read to begin getting to know her, too. I recommended Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities, which was published in 2010. I attached this review of the book to my message to him: http://harpers.org/archive/2010/06/hbc-90007141. As I reread the review, I recognized its and the book’s value for educators. Voilà, this blog post!
A little after noon today, Miriam Dunn, a wonderful poet and friend of mine, posted What if at Google+. Shortly thereafter, I posted a response to her poem in the form of a poem of my own, Might then, which you’ll find below.
miriam dunn - What if
What if I disturb you
with a word
that once lay hid
within a shell
and flew off like a bird?
its careless beak
that once, they met the air,
resembled nonsense syllables
and reconstruct them there.
Skip Zilla - Might then
Might then comb the syllabuses
in a library for a syllabary
to syllogize whether the syllables
were silly spatter
or formed symbols
weighted enough to ponder
yet light enough to wave
across a skyful of minds.
[another "nut" -- written around noon on March 6, 2012, a minute ago]
“Move on, words-galore man,”
ordered the one-eyed officer of the piece.
“The land’s capitol grounds now.
Laughing loudly at legislation
is arrestible. Laughter is the only lunacy
not legal here.”
“But officer who stares for light
in the shine of his polished boots,
I can’t help laughing at the spectacle,”
replied the disturber of a pieceful land.
“Move on? But where?”
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English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education — sometimes it’s sheer luck, like getting across the street.
~ E. B. White
[found at http://grammar.about.com/od/yourwriting/a/advice.htm]
Luck is, in my estimation, the most important idea one can understand, not only about using language interestingly, but also about how the cosmos and everything in it happens. There’s a lot of emphasis by scientists of various stripes on “rules” that determine how things happen; but they really know better: that a sense of predictable mechanics misses the deepest uncertainty out of which anything exists–including you and me!
It used to annoy me that we “greedy bastards” have won throughout history, write our own accounts hiding the perfidy of our ways, and instruct our progeny in the righteousness of moral superiority. Now, I recognize that that’s life for big-brained apes who have had little choice in the matter given our elemental anxieties but to inflate a most delusional projection of ourselves as nature’s conquistadors; I see now, too, that our biological bubble as a species is as prone to bursting as is any bubble of personal fancy.