Positor's Poems

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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on March 12th, 2015, 10:25 pm 

It's All About Being!

Ontologists are clever folk, with academic vanity;
They flaunt their high intelligence in works of great arcanity.
Some coin new words, or back their claims with specious etymology –
A common Continental vice in much phenomenology.

Though Essence and Existence have historical contentiousness,
The moderns brought these concepts to the acme of pretentiousness.
For laymen, reading Sein und Zeit is frankly ineffectual,
But existentialism wows your Paris intellectual.

Now, "being" is a word that needs semantical analysis;
Confusion of its sense can cause conceptual paralysis.
The statement that an object "is" asserts its bare reality;
It means it's a constituent of Physical Totality.

So on its own the verb "to be" denies a pure nonentity,
But followed by another noun it indicates identity;
Thus "Hesperus is Phosphorus" declares there's only one of it
(Perhaps you might come up with more examples for the fun of it).

But sometimes "X is Y" denotes a case of mere contingency;
The verb does not relate the terms with hard defining stringency.
A weary citizen can say "The king's a liability",
Without implying that the Crown itself has no utility.

With adjectives, it often points to qualitative fixity;
It lets us mention some inherent trait without prolixity.
"The sun is hot" or "Water's wet" or "Solids are undrinkable";
The object and its property are always fully linkable.

We also use the verb "to be" for passing states or attitudes,
Whereby we don't intend to utter existential platitudes.
If someone tells you "I am bored" or "School is unendurable",
They clearly aren't insisting the condition is incurable.

So that's what "being" is – it's nothing recondite or mystical;
It just requires an ordinary grasp of the linguistical.
It means a thing is "there", or shows identity or quality.
(Great verbal tours de force are signs of cerebral frivolity.)
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Marshall on March 13th, 2015, 12:05 am 

Positor, thanks for posting this! I read it repeatedly, mulling it over, with amusement and agreement. And was reminded that Horace said the aim of his verse was to delight and instruct. AFAICS you really have parsed "is" as we commonly use the word. Is is simple, that is just how it is! Seeing the new one got me started looking back over some of the earlier.


PS: I infer in the UK people must stress the first syllable of CERebral, but in US I only recall hearing it ceREbral.
I'll look it up and see if I can find a British pronunciation.

PPS: now I can't get the Modern Major General's song from "Pirates" out of my head. See what you've done :^)
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Marshall on March 13th, 2015, 12:22 am 

Cambridge dictionary gives two pronunciations---UK and US---with stress on the first and the second, respectively.
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/pron ... h/cerebral
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on May 19th, 2015, 11:52 am 

Time Travel Conundrum

If I could travel back in time
And see the retrogressive clocks,
My wonderment, although sublime,
Would be alloyed by paradox.

For if I travel to the past
In terms of numbered days and years,
That time is what I cognize last,
And thus my present, it appears.

The future, as defined by date,
Is where I was before my trip;
But History should track my state
Of mind, with this subjective flip.

And so it seems our graphs require
Two axes, pointing 'east' and 'north',
To plot the timelines I acquire
As my machine flies back and forth.

Two time dimensions, three of space;
A highly complex 5D block.
'Lived time' that temporonauts face,
And time as measured by a clock.

The curves and loops that weave among
These five dimensions Nature draws
Confound ideas of 'old' and 'young'
And complicate entropic laws.

If time machines are balderdash,
Reverse causation just a dream,
We may consign 5D to trash
And keep our four-dimension scheme.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Marshall on May 19th, 2015, 10:33 pm 

Indeed they do complicate entropic laws! I was laughing by the last stanza and heartily affirm that they ARE balderdash IMHO. That is just the word for the whole time machine notion, and the preceding six stanza's explain why in a subtle way without seeming to argue one way or the other, they just quietly "unfold" an explication and when the last stanza says "If" you suddenly realize they simply are---no ifs.

I'm no grammar or English usage expert but I think "four-dimensioned" is an OK adjective that works just like
"four-dimensional" without the extra syllable.

so one could say "and keep the four-dimensioned scheme"

It would be more of a classical adjective-noun pattern in keeping with the wise conservatism of keeping the 4D scheme and not being seduced by neologisms or neophysical gimmicks.

temporonauts is a monstrous fabrication but clearly required by the meter.

Or maybe it isn't required. Maybe something like

"Lived time" that chrononauts embrace,
and time as measured by a clock.

Is it something nice that they want to engage with, and go with, and thus embrace?
Or is it a stern arduous thing that they must face?

In that case one could say:
"Lived time" that chrononauts must face,
and time as measured by a clock.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on May 20th, 2015, 8:19 am 

Thanks for the comments.

Marshall » May 20th, 2015, 3:33 am wrote:"Lived time" that chrononauts embrace,
and time as measured by a clock.

Marshall wrote:"Lived time" that chrononauts must face,
and time as measured by a clock.

I think both of the above versions work well.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Marshall on May 20th, 2015, 10:46 am 

My personal feeling shouldn't matter, your poems are distinctly yours and they are wonderful!
At a personal level though, I think of time as something we have to face. Like getting old.
It is inevitable. I have to face it. No way do I embrace it!

I hope you chose that one, or make up a better, or keep the original temporonauts. Or something happens that I haven't the slightest anticipation of. Its all good. Just not embrace. :^)
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on July 13th, 2015, 9:46 am 

The Golden Rule

Most reasonable people share the basic moral view:
Treat others as you would demand that others treated you.
But working out the details of this Rule can cause much strife;
Emotion, ignorance and dogma make such conflict rife.

Believers introduce ideas derived from holy writ;
They ask not "What do humans feel?", but "What does God permit?".
Some outlaw mercy killing or abortion in this way,
While praising torture ("justified chastisement", they would say).

Supporters of armed conflict, euphemized as self-defence,
Attempt to prove its rightness in a lofty moral sense.
They claim that civil ethics are a code that war transcends
In needfully exploiting folk as means instead of ends.

Utilitarians would maximise the sum of pleasure,
But such a nebulous idea is difficult to measure.
To weigh the pain of One against the comfort of the Many
Requires a subtle calculus (it's doubtful if there's any).

Conservatives embrace the Rule, according to their claim:
"I'll let you make a million bucks if I can do the same",
While communists and fascists, like exclusive bands of brothers,
Omit class enemies from the reciprocated "others".

Good liberals, whose list of human rights is quite prolific,
Are apt to err by making these too rigid and specific.
Eradicate death penalties? Democracy for all?
Could not the Rule allow anomalies, however small?

Ah, fallible Humanity! Your every noble word
Is mocked by Folly and Desire, and made to look absurd!
But though our prejudices taint our sense of the Ideal,
Our moral aspirations are unquestionably real.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on October 29th, 2015, 11:24 pm 

In the Beginning...

For us, who see events begin and end,
The universe is hard to comprehend.
If it be bounded, we would probe its wall;
If infinite, it mocks the notion 'all'.
The trained and lay opiners in these threads
Engage, and find themselves at loggerheads,
For when they must abandon earthly norms,
Their intuition takes divergent forms.
Some hold that Time itself must needs commence,
While others claim that such a Start lacks sense.
So long as solid evidence is scant,
Both views seem flawed – as pointed out by Kant.
Some genius will one day find the key,
By gloomy toil or bright epiphany;
We must be patient, though advance is slow,
And modestly admit: We don't yet know.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby DragonFly on October 29th, 2015, 11:38 pm 

Or we Kant know.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on December 2nd, 2015, 10:28 pm 

Inspired by DragonFly's art and poetry, I offer the following Khayyamesque meditations:


Rubaiyat Redux

The summer sun with mellow mien retires
Beneath the line of far ecstatic spires;
The evening and the star-blessed night will bring
Transcendent thoughts and amorous desires.

When meat and wine have warmed our fickle mind
Enough to pacify, but not to blind,
We may absorb, through those enchanted hours,
Free-floating Truth, which Day's strait frame confined.

Yet in our rapture ere the sun's return,
We should be humble, and prepared to learn;
Great verities may come alloyed with flaws
Which we could miss, but others might discern.

Some smug observers, fortified by drink,
More willing to intuit than to think,
Expatiate with facile certainty
On themes from which the uninformed should shrink.

For Truth, though apprehended by the heart,
Is ciphered, and the intellect's fine art
Of inference and calculus must strive
To pick the code's twined elements apart.

We may believe that beauty so sublime
Throws doubt on the reality of Time —
That ugly things appear to age and die
But perfect worlds are always in their prime.

It would, however, be extremely strange
If our direct experience of change
Were false; for such a state would not allow
Discrete events that Falsehood might arrange.

Behold the magus at his nightly feast:
The very synthesis of god and beast!
Some montane maiden or riparian nymph
Inspires the musings of this pleasure-priest.

He plucks sweet cherries from a scented bowl
While waves of wisdom animate his soul;
He ponders things exalted and profane –
Love, music, and Creation's final Goal.

The lake is calm, the stellar gaze benign;
The gibbous moon marks out the bay's smooth line.
High-leaping fish and iridescent birds
In chorus serenade the sacred vine.

Across the plain fly hosts of silent geese,
Their stridor muted by celestial peace;
For in the midnight haunts of hedonists
The irksome peals of daily strife must cease.

The sage is joined by acolytes and friends
Who ask how far the universe extends;
He draws some parallelograms and squares
Before intoning gravely: "It depends".

One protégé, numerically wise,
Mistrusts such vague oracular replies,
And craves more detail; but the Master now
Heeds only his exotic lover's eyes.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby DragonFly on December 2nd, 2015, 11:58 pm 

These are the best Omaresque quatrains I've ever come across. You're really in the zone, Positor. You caught the flavor and the style, as well as the themes and the rhyme scheme, even using ten syllable lines and a few Persian-based words. Stupendous and amazing! They are very polished, too, and readily bring forth visions. This is a great and grand accomplishment.

Any more trying to surface? Sometimes, one can take some big long discussion or idea or even a whole book and reduce it to its pearled heart.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on December 3rd, 2015, 10:27 am 

Thank you. I may add further quatrains if I come up with any more philosophical ideas that I can suitably condense.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby DragonFly on December 3rd, 2015, 3:37 pm 

Here's a Rubiayat blog that occasionally has something useful in it:

https://omarkhayyamrubaiyat.wordpress.com

Maybe they'd like to see your quatrains there, amid their digging up of old editions and not a whole lot of action there lately.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby DragonFly on December 8th, 2015, 3:32 pm 

Can I put your quatrains in my blog under a heading something like, "Positor's Wondrous Omaresque Quatrains'"?

I've been working on another Rubaiyat, thanks to your inspiration. I really had to scrounge my art remains for illustrations, even getting desperate and writing some to match the images I had.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on December 9th, 2015, 12:10 pm 

DragonFly » December 8th, 2015, 7:32 pm wrote:Can I put your quatrains in my blog under a heading something like, "Positor's Wondrous Omaresque Quatrains'"?

Yes, certainly. I would be delighted.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on December 18th, 2015, 10:11 pm 

Rubaiyat Redux, Part 2

A cloud of smoke appears, and seven jinns
Emerge in line abreast with violins;
A girl – half angel and half courtesan –
Gyrates before the players' lustful grins.

Bring us more grapes, and let the taste enhance
This spectacle of orgiastic dance!
I care not if she be a Hindu queen
Or demoiselle from semi-Christian France.

Some passing peasants in an ox-drawn cart
Sing rustic ditties with unpolished art;
The fiddles interpose some rhythmic chords,
With strange cadenzas in the highest part.

The moonlit mermaids by the waterfall,
The sentries on the distant city wall,
The barrel-bearers and the servant boys –
A graceful aura lingers round them all.

Erotic love requires no lofty state;
We may in want and squalor procreate.
But beauty can refine the Body's play
And help the Spirit to participate.

Though wine improves our comfort, wit and health,
A surfeit can erode all three by stealth;
Then vain physicians' foolishness and greed
Prolong our worry and exhaust our wealth.

Now I am ready, I shall cogitate
On matters of profundity and weight:
The motley branches of philosophy
Which scholars seek in vain to integrate.

O let us not accede without complaint
To every social dictate and restraint!
Some acts which in one region are approved
Are in another damned with moral taint.

'To die for King and Country' is a phrase
Which hints that death in battle merits praise:
A mantra sung to hide the fact that war
Needs not the man who dies, but him who slays.

Mild faith consoles; but when Belief is strict,
Joy is expelled by holy interdict.
Life has no worth unless we gladly grasp
The pleasures that Religion would evict.

Did human life evolve by senseless course,
Or spring from naught, by Heaven's tour de force?
The questers scour the land for hidden clues;
The preachers quote a more dogmatic source.

Is all the world composed of partless grains,
Some loose, and others bound by ghostly chains?
Or can each Thing be infinitely cut
While all its Substance nonetheless remains?

Some say Geometry makes time and space;
Some claim pure Algebra is Being's base.
Unless our mathematic skill is strong,
We should withhold opinion in this case.

Do I alone exist? Are other folks
The product of some clever Demon's hoax?
'Tis said that God prevents such trickery,
But perpetrates His own good-natured jokes.

For if my Solitude could be believed,
I would have conjured everything conceived –
All works of art, all stars, all history.
An awesome feat, if it could be achieved!

No, I believe that I am not alone
Outside great Paradise's changeless zone.
I share the Earth with other mortal souls,
Though from a viewpoint which is all my own.

But often my perceptions may be skewed
By God's obscurely playful attitude.
He sows illusions, so beware! The Real
May not, at times, conform to what is viewed.

He magnifies far trees and mountain-tops,
And fashions rainbows from clear water drops.
He alters sounds, and puzzles us with sights
Of skyborne plates, and rings in fields of crops.

But though our outer senses be misled,
We can, with diligence, detect a thread
Of cosmic order and consistency
To guide our progress in the years ahead.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Marshall on December 19th, 2015, 12:28 am 

I don't have a strong conviction about this but notice 4 "ands" in this stanza (which doesn't have to be seen as a fault---sometimes a verse gains by repetition)

He magnifies far trees and mountain-tops,
And fashions rainbows from clear water drops.
He alters sounds, and puzzles us with sights
Of skyborne plates, and rings in fields of crops.

So I tried to see how it would sound with two "ands" removed. It could go like this:

He magnifies far trees and mountain-tops,
And fashions rainbows from clear water drops.
He alters sounds, He puzzles us with sights
Of skyborne saucers, rings in fields of crops.

Might want to compare... I don't want to recommend or lean either way
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on December 19th, 2015, 9:17 am 

Thanks for the suggestion, but I slightly prefer my original version. I think the "and"s arise naturally from the sense. Two of them link nouns and two link verbs, so there is some functional variety in them.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Marshall on December 19th, 2015, 1:35 pm 

It's good. the repetition of and evokes (by repetition) an infinite list---the endless breadth and variety of misperceptions/illusions.
breaking it up probably (at least on reflection I think so) suggests a finite list of tricks by a more finite comprehensible Agent.
Lots of "ands" suggest somewthbing that goes on and on, and on...
I think you are right.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby DragonFly on December 25th, 2015, 2:40 am 

Here is a provisionally illustrated edition of your 'Rubaiyat Redux' so far; Merry Christmas!

https://austintorney.wordpress.com/2015/12/25/positors-wondrous-rubaiyat-redux-illustrated/
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on December 25th, 2015, 10:49 am 

Thank you very much. And a Merry Christmas to you!

I will continue to follow the various discussions in SPCF in case they give me any ideas for further quatrains.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on February 4th, 2016, 10:32 pm 

Rubaiyat Redux, Part 3

The wise engage in civilised debate,
In which diverse opinions circulate.
The foolish fling their facile fancies forth
And cause loud insults to reverberate.

While anger, to a limited degree,
Can whet the senses and dispel ennui,
'Tis an unworthy and inconstant friend,
Inducing madness and infirmity.

Love is the cure for every human ill:
Love – a short word, but able to distil
The common core of all fine qualities –
Devotion, rapture, patience, and goodwill.

Alone of all the predators that strive,
We need not kill in order to survive;
Yet Earth abounds with sanguinary men
Who still indulge their ancient hunting drive.

What an enigma human lives present!
Dynamic sparks of minimal extent,
Provisioned by an unimpressive star.
A cosmic need, or just an accident?

Astronomers have wondrous modern means
Of witnessing the heavens' distant scenes.
What unimagined realms may they espy
When aided by tomorrow's great machines?

Some scholars, reading Ockham, may infer
That Time's vast course must endlessly recur.
A sequence of eternal novelty
Is too extravagant, they will aver.

Opponents, who prefer their timeline straight,
Find Nietzschean cycles hard to tolerate.
A rectilinear narrative accords
With theists' notions of a Judgement Date.

These agonising puzzles take their toll,
Wherefore debauchery and alcohol
Are common comforters in Academe,
But intellect does not ensure control.

The surest path to wholesome happiness,
And fertile thought, is to avoid excess;
So say the wise old Sultan and his muse,
The beautiful and erudite Princess.

Arithmetic performed the Persian way,
With digits all in columnar array,
Makes commerce, building, and discovery
More rapid than they were in Caesar's day.

We walk the road that leads to middle-age,
And trot, then gallop, to Life's final stage.
The looming landmarks pass with rising speed,
Or so our minds inaccurately gauge.

The teeming galaxies have not a care
For human exultation or despair;
We must exploit the gifts that Chance bestowed,
And lead our lives without recourse to prayer.

We may not comprehend how Will is free
While subject to the Laws of Energy;
But let us not conclude that Choice is vain –
We cannot cede Responsibility.

What manner of phenomenon is Sin?
An independent entity, akin
To noxious fumes, which God resolved to clear
By proxy, through his Son in human skin?

Or is it just a property, possessed
By people who have wilfully transgressed?
If so, a scapegoat proves of no avail;
The remedy lies in the Sinner's breast.

Stern tutors warn that Levity's a vice,
And call for Dignity at any price.
In truth, the sufferer who mocks his grief
Recovers sooner than the man of ice.

Enjoy life's pleasures and endure its pains;
When courage waxes, desperation wanes.
Rail not at Time; let not Death's shade obsess;
Bid youth farewell, and cherish what remains.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on May 26th, 2016, 8:16 pm 

Parkinson's Law

In former times, a government or major corporation
Was mainly staffed with lowly clerks for smooth administration;
The pyramid of upper ranks who issued the directives
Was thin, and just a few key men would formulate objectives.

These days, equality demands that all should gain promotion;
Advancement is a quid pro quo for service and devotion.
So now the hierarchy is augmented and refined,
But management's efficiency is thereby undermined.

The supervisors, auditors and quality assessors,
The time-and-motion analysts and jargon-rich professors,
Comprise the ramifying tree of higher personnel
Who waste productive workers' efforts, and their own as well.

The seniors combine and recombine in steering groups
Which pass vague resolutions, shown on charts replete with loops,
And fritter hours on logos, signs, and Statements of Intent,
Which their subordinates must clarify and implement.

Such empty innovations and initiatives appeal
To go-ahead executives, who'd reinvent the wheel.
No wonder that the modern world requires more office space!
Manhattan is the model that our urban dwellers face.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby dandelion on May 29th, 2016, 6:44 am 

Great.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on August 15th, 2016, 2:30 pm 

Dilettantes' Delight

Look at the forum for Personal Theories!
No reservations or diffident queries!
Only some highly unorthodox schemes
Proving the cosmos is not what it seems.

Watch the succession of passionate dabblers!
Some can be classed as nonsensical babblers;
Some build on facts that they've poorly digested,
Certain of fame once their theories are tested.

Those of an iconoclastic proclivity,
Seized with the urge to debunk Relativity,
Argue for absolute motion or time;
Often their logic is mad but sublime.

Many objectors – perhaps a majority –
Brusquely dismiss academic authority,
Calling the experts dogmatic high priests
Keen to save science from ignorant beasts.

Some invoke Einstein to bolster their case;
Others have Newton's idea of fixed space.
Misapplications of Michelson-Morley
Indicate amateur physics most surely.

The ones who admit that they're hopeless at figures
Prefer verbal beauty to algebra's rigours.
Their reasoning's full of vague statements and fudges
For later refinement by technical drudges.

A few, who have real mathematical dash,
Can juggle equations with skill and panache.
It takes a researcher of worldwide renown
To scan the fine details and give the thumbs-down.

A personal theory is like a close friend
Its author feels morally bound to defend.
If critics attack, and it struggles to thrive,
He doctors it crudely to keep it alive.

Such loyal commitment seems rather a shame
In science discussions, where truth is the aim.
Attempts at rebuttal are doomed to frustration;
To hell with Karl Popper and falsification.

Concision's a virtue; verbosity's vicious –
Long screeds without summaries make me suspicious.
If anyone reads them (which frankly I doubt),
It must be a nightmare to figure them out.

What do these mavericks hope to achieve?
Paradigm change, they appear to believe.
Sadly, although their ambition is strong,
Reason suggests that they've got it all wrong.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby henriette on September 8th, 2016, 9:51 am 

About Diletantes's Delight

Bakers are not the most lickerish
and philosophers cook philosophy
Personal theories as homemade recipes
May often be so salty
But dinners may not be vain
For your poems pour wine in veins
It's all a question of attitude
To cook with a whip of mansuetude.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on September 8th, 2016, 7:41 pm 

Personal theories may taste very nice,
With plenty of froth, and some acid for spice.
Many are fishy, a few are quite sweet,
But just about all are deficient in meat.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby vivian maxine on September 9th, 2016, 6:17 am 

henriette » September 8th, 2016, 8:51 am wrote:About Diletantes's Delight

Bakers are not the most lickerish
and philosophers cook philosophy
Personal theories as homemade recipes
May often be so salty
But dinners may not be vain
For your poems pour wine in veins
It's all a question of attitude
To cook with a whip of mansuetude.


Thank you, Henriette, for the new word. Mansuetude? I never heard it before. Its definition is nothing like how it sounds, is it?
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby DragonFly on October 8th, 2016, 4:11 pm 

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