Metaphysics

Left: Cesare Guilio, “Palestra Bianca” (ca. 1940)
Right: A.K. Aster, “On Salons” (Camera Craft, 1940)

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could…

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo…

 

Bill Evans – “Alfie”

“reverie”

Tom Hubbard, “…Saturday Night” (1973)

reverie

your smile
on a summer night
the starlight
shining after light years
the light in the window
the wind and your voice
I looked up at the sky last night
and thought of you

—J.S.
 

“I’d Really Love To See You Tonight” by England Dan & J.F. Coley

I remember the night the Green–Schwarz mechanism was discovered…

Northeastern University Course Catalog, 1984-85

String Theory

I remember the night the Green–Schwarz mechanism was discovered —

It was a stormy summer night in 1984.

The lightning that flashed across the equations on the blackboard

also flashed across my curtains,

two oranges on the dining room table,

a Pat Metheny album on the blue shag carpet.

I, too, thought I had solved something.

I, too, thought I was free of anomalies.

But the next day I still couldn’t figure it out.

–J.S.
 

The Grass Roots – “Two Divided By Love”

“Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!”

Wilhelm von Gloeden, Man (ca. 1900)

Unscrew the locks from the doors!
Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!

–Whitman, Song Of Myself
 

Elton John – “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”

ENG 101

David De Vries, “Room 103, small classroom…” (2001)

ENG 101

I heard his raspy old voice talking

about a poem about a spider

and he even looked like Frost

but I was looking

out the door out the window

at the ultrablue sky

and wondered

about designs

–J.S.
 

Michael W. Smith – Place In This World

“What they’re looking for is a definition of why their lives have been flattened or floored…”

Photograph by Kimberly Richards via Unsplash

Harry Kreisler: What led you to philosophy?

Stanley Cavell: Well, I could give you a cocktail answer to that, or I could say, “I’m still asking myself the question.”

Harry Kreisler: Right.

Stanley Cavell: One serious way to answer the question is to say that leaving music was the first enormous basic radical crisis in my life. I was bewildered by who I might be if I wasn’t a musician. And philosophy is, after all, a subject you might come to in a state of crisis. That’s one thing that happened to me, in finding philosophy…

Harry Kreisler: This is a silly question, but I’ll ask it anyway. What does a philosopher do?

Stanley Cavell: Of course, the serious answer to that is, they ask themselves that. Almost everybody has his or her own answer to that. All the great philosophers have their answer to it; it winds up in their text, that what they’re looking for is a definition of why their lives have been flattened or floored…

Conversations with History: Stanley Cavell – YouTube Conversation with Stanley Cavell, p. 3 of 6

“Driftwood”

At Cape Cod, August, 1969

I am scattered in a thousand places

here and there —

now and then

the wind and waves wash me ashore

ceaselessly

leaving something behind

a remindering

a finding of lost time

I never left

–J.S., “Driftwood”
 

America – Ventura Highway

“As the birds did not take flight, he went to them…”

Börje Gallén, Woman and children feeding pigeons in Copenhagen in 1946 (1946)

“One time as [Saint Francis] was passing through the Spoleto valley, he came upon a place near Bevagna, in which a great multitude of birds of various kinds had assembled. When the holy one of God saw them, because of the outstanding love of the Creator with which he loved all creatures, he ran swiftly to the place. He greeted them in his usual way, as if they shared in reason. As the birds did not take flight, he went to them, going to and fro among them, touching their heads and bodies with his tunic…”

—Thomas of Celano, The Treatise on the Miracle of Saint Francis (The Francis Trilogy of Thomas of Celano, New City Press, 2004)

“Every man’s work, pursued steadily, tends in this way to become an end in itself, and so to bridge over the loveless chasms of his life.”

Doris Ulmann, Man Working At A Pottery Wheel (ca. 1930)

His first movement after the shock had been to work in his loom; and he went on with this unremittingly, never asking himself why, now he was come to Raveloe, he worked far on into the night to finish the tale of Mrs. Osgood’s table-linen sooner than she expected—without contemplating beforehand the money she would put into his hand for the work. He seemed to weave, like the spider, from pure impulse, without reflection. Every man’s work, pursued steadily, tends in this way to become an end in itself, and so to bridge over the loveless chasms of his life…

—George Eliot, Silas Marner