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Showing posts from September, 2013

Philosophy at Night

I like teaching at night. Bells rejoice the sun’s sleep, Summoning home the weary With their papers, books, weight And sorrows to leave now and bury In the kinder darkness far from The light that sees all and reveals all. But we stay a while longer. There is no one waiting at home Anyway, but more work or the bed where nothing happens.
It’s a secret we all keep. A rendezvous for a motley crew Of businessmen, economists, doctors, Psychiatrists, scientists and those Whose dreams have not yet come, whose Passions have not taken hold of them; Mostly they do not know. Who knows at twenty?— What shall come, shall be chosen What shall be lived? Not even the eldest in the room Who wonders in between writing fancy, borrowed Words of some French existentialist on the board that Still bears important marks and lines and equations from A more important class at 4:30 to six. I write over the previous teacher’s Certainties with stupid questions Like Who Am I, What is man, And on the meaning of things and this odd Thi…

The Duties of Mercy

For Jade

A few years before his death in 1610, and at the height of his powers, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio would be exiled in Naples, then a dark city much unlike his favored Rome. Because of the difficulty to find employment, its people were struck with poverty; they had to live with the everyday dangers of crime and violence on the streets. Such a place suited the itinerant and brash painter. Welcomed both by its painters and art collectors, Caravaggio was something like a celebrity in Naples. He would soon be commissioned to paint for those who can afford him. His first major work in Naples would be a commission requested by some aristocrats for an altarpiece in the Pio Monte della Misericordia. Caravaggio’s dominant Seven Works of Mercy (Sette opere di Misericordia), considered to be his greatest Neapolitan work, remains there today. Addressing the dire situation of the people of Naples, Caravaggio was asked to depict the six corporal acts or works of mercy as can be found i…