Tuesday, April 2, 2013

National Poetry Month - A Found Poem

Found Poems are so much fun. It's surprising to me that these are actually legal, given copyright laws, but I'm the last person who will claim to be an expert in copyright law. The poet is not claiming to own the original text, just the poem made out of it, and I guess that makes all the difference.

Yesterday, the first day of National Poetry Month, our assignment at LegendFire was to write our own found poem. I chose a book at random off my shelves, and it happened to be a short collection of Plato's writings. I cracked it open and read, "He says he knows how the youth are corrupted and who are their corruptors." Well, if that is not inspiration for a poignant poem, I don't know what is. So I kept gathering lines that I had underlined in college, and here are the results:


Someone has been prosecuting you?

He must be a wise man

The charge?

That I am a poet or a maker of gods.
He says he knows how the youth are
corrupted and who are their corruptors.
He must be a wise man.

The youth like to hear the pretenders examined;
they do not like to confess that their
pretense of knowledge has been detected.
He must be a wise man.
Happy the condition of youth if
if they had only one corruptor
and all the rest of the world
were their improvers.

He must be a wise man.

The sign he ridicules?

A voice
which comes to me and forbids
but never commands,
and this is what stands in the way.

The truth is that only God is wise;
in this oracle he means to say:
the wisdom of men is little or nothing.

I should have perished long ago,
done no good either to you or myself.
I cared not a straw for death
my only fear was of doing an unrighteous thing.
The difficulty is not avoiding death, but avoiding

I would fain prophesy to you:

There is reason to hope that death is
a good. Either
death is a state of nothingness, or
there is a migration of the
soul from this world
to another.

The hour of departure has arrived and we go our ways.
I to die, and you to live.
Which is better,
God only knows.

*taken from Euthyphro and Apology by Plato

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