The Poems of Reason – 24th August 2022

This one has taken a while, perhaps more than a year. Again, a poem for a bunch of quotes I highlighted whilst reading Sartre’s The Age of Reason.

Everything is so neat and tidy in your mind; it smells of clean linen; it’s as though you had just come out of a drying room.

The Drying Room

The static in the air
Crackles your clean clothes
Your body is straight
Your mind is straight
It’s the vision that you chose

When you look at yourself, you imagine you aren’t what you see

False Mirror

Reflecting
Who is this?
Who are you?
Am I in this picture?
I am the light of the scene
A spotlight shines upon me
Flowers are thrown, gifts given
This mirror is not me
My head is not the mirror
So what is this picture I see?

…you’re the sort that upsets glasses and smashes mirrors. And women trust you. Well, they get what they deserve.

Smashed Up

You balanced your full temper
With a charisma kept in reserve
And those folks who trusted you
End up with what they deserve

He had not seen him for six months….It was embarrassing, they had too much to say to each other, their fading friendship lay between them.

Some Things Don’t Last A Long Time

The red has faded
The blue has paled
This picture, a reminder
Our friendship has failed
Too much to say
Too much time past
It’s just a sign
It wasn’t meant to last
Forgotten the feeling
Of the things we shared
Six months on
Like we never cared

Who am I to give advice? And what have I done with my life?

Void

The eternal question to ask
Who am I? Why am I here?
Have you asked this of yourself?
Who are you? Why are you here?
Advice offered through experience
It’s honest but never true and clear
What did we ever do with ourselves?
Who are we? Why are we here?

…he always felt as though he were somewhere else, that he was not wholly born. He waited. And during all that time, gently, stealthily, the years had come, they had grasped him from behind…

Beers and Wine

What are you waiting for?
You’ve been born for many years
You’ve never been now
Now holds too many fears
Death is creeping up on you
You’ve been worried every day
Too late to let it loose
Now your regret is here to stay

Youth is fantastic, so vivid on the surface, but no feeling inside it.

Empty Pocket

The stars of the youthful eyes
Burning bright in darkened skies
An energy burst, far and wide
An empty pocket, nothing inside

You mustn’t mind me today, I’m not myself. I’m dependent on other people, which is so degrading.

Irrelevant

Don’t mind me and the things I say
I’m just not really myself today
I degrade myself by being dependent
I need others to make me feel relevant

I want to live immediately, I haven’t begun, and I haven’t time to wait, I’m old already, I’m twenty-one.

Dying Days

How long can I wait, I’m already old
I should be living now, or so I’m told
I haven’t started and the race feels run
My dying days at only twenty-one

He never worried about her, he said to himself; “If there was anything the matter with her, she would tell me.”

Together

Sure she would tell me if there was something wrong
I never worry about her and where we both belong
Sometimes side by side and other times far apart
We are certain to be together deep within our heart

I forget the context of the quote but took it as a negative thought, in that he doesn’t think about the person much at all. But when it came to writing this little poem I’m channelling the positive feeling between my wife and me as she is far away. I do worry a little about her – but I don’t worry about us.

And yet he ought to know that I can’t talk about myself, that I don’t like myself enough for that.

Glean

When I dislike myself I remain quiet
Contemplating all of my life’s meaning
Yet you chatter away incessantly
Without acknowledging that I’m dreaming
And the words we both imparted
Provided little for either of our gleaning

One could only damage oneself through the harm one did to others.

I Hurt Myself

The thoughts I have about you
The ones I justify
I redirect them inward
To test and qualify
I learned that if I hurt you
It’s myself that feels the damage
Better to change my thinking
And these emotions I must manage

She was beautiful beyond all doubt, but her beauty was of the kind that vanishes under observation.

Focus

Such a vision from afar
As if captured in a soft-focus lens
This beauty breaks under inspection
On distance it depends

I am the more convinced that one oughtn’t to be a man of principles. You are stiff with them, you even invent them, but you don’t stick to them.

Break Or Bend

Does the principle a man make?
Or convinced they are better to break?
Stiff with sticking to a particular way
Or flexibly bending from day to day

A man must have the courage to act like everybody else, in order not to be like anybody.

A Different Same

It’s bravery to jump in the river
From the same bridge others jumped
There’s a message to deliver
So remains the water pumped
All within is what remains
There’s a choice to resistance
The difference will be what explains
Our places in existence

Your age of reason is the age of resignation, and I’ve no use for it.

Useless

When you found reason
It seemed all but useless to me
A resignation
About how one chooses to be

…you looked much more like a fellow who had just realised that he had been living on ideas that don’t pay.

Next Invention

Each great idea come and gone
Moved half a world away
Master of the next invention
Living on ideas that never pay

No one ever talks to me about myself, and there are times when I can’t seem to get hold of what I am.

Doctor Griffin

Talk to me, don’t talk to me
Your words so closely guarded
Who am I? I’m not too sure
Always disregarded
An invisible man
Unsure what I am

…inject a meaning into life, choose to be a man, to act and to believe. That would be salvation.

Salvation

I saved myself in the end
Making choices, acting and believing
Found the time in which to spend
Thoughts to surround with meaning

My freedom? It’s a burden to me; for years past I have been free and to no purpose. I simply long to exchange it for good sound certainty.

No Complaint

I don’t want freedom
Its burden brings constraint
Because I have no purpose
Not even any complaint
Give me words to live by
A map and a guide
Days that are certain
No thinking need be applied

Well, he ought to marry Marcelle. After that he can rest upon his laurels, he is still young, he will have a whole life in which to congratulate himself on a good deed.

Sat Back

That one deed that made a god
To revel in the glory until the end
Resting on laurels laid in youth
And for the future did depend

“I must transform myself to the very bones.” But nothing could help him to do that: all his thoughts were tainted from their origin….he saw himself exposed and as he was: thoughts, thoughts about thoughts, thoughts about thoughts of thoughts, he was transparent and corrupt beyond any finite vision.

Very Bones

In ever-decreasing circles of thought
And all the thinking amounts to naught
Becoming a ghost, accepting of fate
Transformed to a flesh-corrupted state

…there were people who did not exist at all, mere puffs of smoke, and others who existed rather too much.

Living A Quote

Live the quote ‘to be or not’
You were blown away on the breeze
Left nothing to be remembered for
A life disappeared with ease
Living the quote ‘to be or not’
You are an immovable stone
Standing in the way of everyone
Until left standing alone

“I don’t know how to suffer, I never suffer enough.” The most painful thing about suffering was that it was a phantom, one spent one’s time pursuing it, one always hoped to catch and plunge into it and suffer squarely with clenched teeth; but in that instant it escaped, leaving nothing behind but a scattering of words and countless demented, pullulating arguments. “There’s a chattering in my head, and the chattering won’t stop. Oh, how I wish I could be silent!”

Suffer Enough

I only suffer myself
Is it enough for meaning?
Sunken into comforts
Words of smoke, no feeling
A talking never stops
All arguments demented
Suffering in silence
Enough to be resented

…they must be assumed to understand each other’s allusions or the charm would be broken.
(game playing. not like that – straight to a fault)

Game Playing

When the rules are clearly understood
Is it still a game we’re playing?
Have we taken this beyond understanding
With the truths we’ve been saying?

Various tried and proved rules of conduct had already discreetly offered him their services: disillusioned epicureanism, smiling tolerance, resignation, flat seriousness, stoicism – all the aids whereby a man may savour, minute by minute, like a connoisseur, the failure of a life.

All The Rules

Borrowed from the wise across the ages
From the philosophies of time’s well worn pages
Each one with rules increasingly rife
All pointing towards our failure of a life

Let me know your thoughts

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