Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Not Quite a Sonnet on the Divisibility of Kinetics and Infinite Bisection (or a Theory on Yard Work)

I cannot help musing like the ancient
philosophers, such indolent meta-
physicians with nothing to do each day:
hulking Heraclitus with both feet sub-
merged in the same river, soaking bunions
in a flux to prove his Logos; drunken
Zeno, denying motion by proving
non-divisibility in goblets
of wine.  All this when there’s work to be done:
the grass needs mowing, the hydrangeas need
trimming.  No doubt about this collision
of leaf and blade.  I think I’ll leave the lawn
   half-cut, the boxwoods half-pruned, and ponder
   other dialectics in my backyard.

Not Quite a Sonnet...” was originally published in American Goat, 1993.


  1. I'm digging how you lose the sonnet in the exact spot where things are growing out of control. Very much a poem for the season and times.

  2. Thanks, Tim.
    Sometimes lines are intentional and subtle; sometimes they are inadvertently symbolic and metaphoric. The allusions to the ancient Greek philosophers, Heraclitus and Zeno, are intentional.
    These early metaphysicians also profess two of my favorite paradoxes: "Those who step into the same river have different waters flowing ever upon them" (Heraclitus). Zeno "assert[ed] the non-existence of motion on the ground that that which is in locomotion must arrive at the half-way stage before it arrives at the goal, and so on ad infinitum." Thus, change and motion were thought to be continuous illusions for thinkers of the middle of the sixth to the early half of the fifth century B.C.
    Perhaps Bob Dylan said it best: "Come gather 'round people where ever you roam/ And admit that the waters around you have grown/ And accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone/ If your time to you is worth savin'/ Then you better start swimmin' or you'll sink like a stone/ For the times they are a-changin'..."

  3. Epicurius in the Garden. You've perfectly bisected that particular question regarding the struggle for the soul of Academia, Glen. And just when its starting to turn the screws down tight on what the Grecians earned.