Positor's Poems

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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on December 13th, 2016, 9:35 pm 

Methods of Science

Empiricists trust experience, while rationalists rely
On axiomatic principles, which logic can amplify.
The former eschew foundations, which philosophers often dispute;
The latter say observation's flawed, so reason's the surest route.

Empiricists test their own theories, which they modify if they need to,
But deductions suffice for rationalists, whatever result they lead to.
The former cry "Metaphysics, ha! What good has it done mankind?"
The latter dismiss them as pragmatists, and damn them as unrefined.

This leads to much indignation, as conflicting hypotheses clash;
At times, discussions get out of hand, and the mods consign them to Trash.
To give up a personal theory, on which one has lavished much care,
And bow to more cogent argument, is more than some folk can bear.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby dandelion on December 15th, 2016, 7:29 am 

Great, Positor!
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on October 29th, 2017, 8:48 am 

Meanwhile, in the Science forums...

A lengthy discussion still rages
On Alice and Bob and their ages.
The way these are charted
(The twins remain parted)
Fills copious densely-packed pages.

We cannot appeal to a deity
To resolve time's intrinsic haecceity.
Unless you're together
Or joined by a tether,
There's relative simultaneity.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on November 25th, 2017, 10:08 am 

The Dichotomy

Existence has two modes in parallel:
Alternative accounts that we may tell.
Our mind dictates the story in one case,
While in the other, physics forms the base.
Phenomena, as purely felt or thought,
Require no test or theory for support;
Invulnerable in their own domain,
Immune to doubt, or failure to explain,
They may be pondered, listed, schematized
In terms that German thinkers have devised,
And (though the practicalists may appeal)
'Tis vain to call such entities unreal.
Now turn to the materialist tale,
Where claims about the world may pass or fail
Experiments to show them false or true,
And aggregate to an objective view.
Here, Mind gives way to Brain; and things perceived
Are deemed veridical or disbelieved.
The cosmic truth, obscured to some degree,
Needs joint pursuit, and yields no certainty.
These two perspectives, facing In and Out,
Involve a paradox much talked about:
In one, I'm puny, brief, and commonplace,
But in the other, I'm the Hub of space.
By what strange cause am I embodied here?
By what caprice, or law, did 'I' appear?
May I conclude, on rationalist grounds,
That part of me surpasses spacetime's bounds?
Till some insightful sage comes to the fore,
Combining Einstein, Kant, Husserl and Bohr,
Let us with dauntless optimism cling
To hope of synthesizing everything.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby DragonFly on November 26th, 2017, 2:55 pm 

I put out your latest poem and a pointer to this thread at https://theomarkhayyamclubofamerica.wordpress.com/2017/11/26/positors-poems/

To all,

See https://theomarkhayyamclubofamerica.wordpress.com
for Omar Khayyam Rubaiyat, art, philosophy, stories, humor, and much more than just Omar, as in Everything.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on January 3rd, 2018, 12:01 am 

Thanks. Here are my latest Omar-inspired verses:

Come, ye who languish in some frosty clime,
Or fret morosely in a peaceless time,
Let thought of cold or conflict now recede;
Imbibe with me a draught of the sublime.

I know a land where every stone is sweet,
Kind breezes vie to soften summer's heat,
The noon is gentle as the dusk or dawn,
And songs resound from each contented street.

When, after work in garden, road or square,
Discerning folk to tree-lined yards repair
With fragrant wine to elevate the soul,
They sit and argue World and Spirit there.

Some speak about a realm beyond the sky,
Where God determines how we live and die.
Such pious words with distant mantras blend;
'Tis vain to challenge Destiny, they sigh.

But men of action, with emphatic voice,
Assert the truth of human will and choice:
Experience reveals no deity,
So let us cast off doctrine and rejoice.

Astrologers unfold their ancient charts
That carve the cosmos into rigid parts,
But keen observers indicate the flaws
Of strict reliance on unchanging arts.

They talk of final and initial states,
Which Science probes, and Theory adumbrates,
While Logic prunes the fancy's fecund tree
And frees the mind from dogma's dismal straits.

One thinker ventures: "All must needs begin",
But others note the fallacy therein:
A universe arising from a Void
Needs non-existence for its origin!

Discussion turns to arithmetic themes,
And plans for novel calculation schemes:
The Zero, and the Negative and Root
Which occupy an innovator's dreams.

The puzzle of the genesis of Man,
The magnitude of Time's historic span,
The stuff of stars, the levity of light,
All pass within the conversation's scan.

The talk persists, the evening hours advance,
Attendants pour, and comely maidens dance,
Till wine, love, beauty, and enlightenment
Induce in all a deep ecstatic trance.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby DragonFly on January 3rd, 2018, 1:35 am 

Positor » January 2nd, 2018, 11:01 pm wrote:Thanks. Here are my latest Omar-inspired verses:

Hey, they're great, and just in time to add to my last ever book and statement for Omar—and for us descendant poets that somehow got overwhelmed with his Persia fumes, which book is called 'Rubaiyat II: An Omarian Universal Day'.

It's a monstrosity that is already to 2000+ quatrains and I've been putting it out little by little on my blog, with some quatrains in it that you already let me use before, which blog is mentioned about a post or two ago.

I went back to the beginning of this thread and reread it, about a week ago, and saw that I missed a lot: maybe I wasn't always around or perhaps some posts I couldn't read well because they didn't always have spaces between the stanzas or the lines were long, or, actually, because I was lazy or couldn't focus.

So, by some great coincidence I just remodeled those poems to make them book size/style, with blank line spaces and shortened some wide lines to fit across a page, for readability, and practice, and just for fun, too, and then via this very focused endeavor it sank into me how great the poems were that I'd missed and how they would do really well for Omar giving lectures at the Shah's Palace in the Rubaiyat II book (according them to you as the author, as always). I'll put them in my poems thread, I guess, for now, for review, so I don't clog this thread, plus I don't want to cause confusion with your originals or bury your latest post.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on January 3rd, 2018, 11:39 am 

Thanks. I tend to vary the format of my poems (stanzas or continuous, and long or short lines) according to their subject matter and mood. I will look at your latest post in your poems thread, and let you know if I have any particular comments.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on March 23rd, 2018, 11:33 pm 

Pointing the Finger

A raucous rant came rasping through the din
Of traffic, though with words disjoint as yet:
"Our loving Lord...by grace...forgive your sin..."
The gist was kind, but had a tone of threat.
I ventured closer to this fount of fire
Whose brandished cross enthused no passers-by;
I witnessed his evangelistic ire,
His finger stabbing at the sainted sky.
"You all deserve eternal Hell", he raved,
"For envy, anger, blasphemy and lust;
But, by God's wondrous mercy, you are saved."
(He spoke as if this outcome were unjust.)
How rife they are, whose charity is slight,
Who scold their fellows on a public site!
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on April 4th, 2018, 9:37 am 

Beyond Experience

Some say the past, except in memory,
Is fully gone;
Some argue that, in realms we cannot see,
It lingers on.
Does all of time exist as an array,
A fourth dimension?
Or is this line a calculator's play,
Drawn by convention?
Static space-time is an accepted fact
As experts teach it;
But if the past abides somehow, intact,
How can we reach it?
Abstract ideas required to codify
Raw observations
May not, like real phenomena, apply
To our sensations.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on September 20th, 2018, 10:25 pm 

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

We know that scientists are often wrong;
Objective evidence may not be strong.
A theory may evolve; a paradigm
May suffer metamorphosis through time.
Contrasting models may compete, or mix,
Impelled by fashion, hype, or politics.
The older generation may cling fast
To notions that fresh minds consider past.
But always, through a blend of age and youth,
We run the asymptotic course to Truth.
And should some smug contrarians demur,
Let them decide which era they'd prefer.

Coherent metaphysics has its place
(If founded on a firm empiric base)
In pondering Existence and the Mind,
While logic serves to keep terms well defined.
An honest skeptic may, with reason, doubt
Exotic entities one reads about,
Or warn of hubris shown by Nobel winners
Who treat distinguished rivals like beginners.
'Tis laudable that thinkers execrate
Injunctions to 'shut up and calculate'.
So far, so good: philosophy and science
Abrade each other in a rough alliance.

But wait! Behold the long-frustrated hordes
Who regularly hog discussion boards -
Some fools, some jokers, some with Freudian twists,
And all of them prodigious narcissists.
Persistently they chant their siren song:
What is not perfect is completely wrong,
And since each theory has unending tweaks,
We've no more knowledge than the ancient Greeks.
Because new thought trumps incremental grind,
We should defer to a creative mind,
And either feast upon their novel fruit
Or grimly take the nihilistic route.

The anti-evolutionists who post
On shaky grounds (some Dawkins pop, at most)
Display their ignorance of modern trends
By faulting Darwin to achieve their ends.
Creationism - open or concealed -
Informs their interventions in this field;
The faithful would defend God's ancient writ,
While sophists sidestep facts and ask: "What's 'fit'?"
Biologists invoke the Earth's great age
And point to fossils formed at every stage,
But their opponents cast what doubt they can,
And trust no claims about so great a span.

In physics, common formulae provide
Another set of facts to be denied.
The would-be Maxwells write their own equations
(Debunked by forum experts on occasions),
But most revisionists are irked by numbers
And opt for instinct, which dull math encumbers.
The so-called paradoxes of SR
Involving travel to some distant star,
The curious properties of time and space,
Frame-independent light rays' constant pace
And length contraction strain their common sense.
How keen they are to jump to its defence!

The usual problem in these situations
Is unawareness of one's limitations.
The spirit of the modern age exhorts
Both smart and dumb alike to air their thoughts.
A wish for fame, a craving for respect,
An urge to call one's betters incorrect,
Combine with failure to attach due weight
To any prior relevant debate.
The upshot is that honest but naive
Contributors who say what they believe
Are interspersed with charlatans and trolls
Who swagger in with their subversive goals.

Science is hard, and needs well-managed fora;
'Plain truth' and 'common sense' are oxymora.
The truth is never plain, and common notions
Make little sense in terms of cosmic motions.
If everyone would listen, read and learn,
These threads might take a more enlightened turn!
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on October 18th, 2018, 11:41 pm 

Distant Memories

Now let us ride away,
through the vertiginous vortex of remembrance,
to the distinct, distanced realm of early perception,
the prior world-prospect of infant eyes and ears.
See the stark separation of near and far,
the deceiving distances of the child's short-focus lens;
Observe the vivid closeness of low domestic details,
the scattered toys, the patterned carpet,
and the solid reassuring door;
The middle range of tabletops
and busy power-plugged appliances;
And the far garden fence, obliquely glimpsed through greenery,
marking the pale of permitted play
and the threshold of imagined freedom.
Hear the booming adult voices,
the curt authority of time-tarnished teachers,
and the basic, bass-rich piano of the school assembly hall,
serving up square hymns of stock spirituality.
Rich are the other senses too:
the awareness of faint, vestigial paint-scent on wood
and all the loud aromas of home and church and street,
leaving a lifelong trace within the many-layered mind;
the absurdly important qualia of young gustation;
and the raw feel of pleasing or repugnant textiles
on sensitive skin.
Such impressions, extant but age-eroded
and dimmed by adult cares,
were once the very core of life's experience.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on February 25th, 2019, 10:17 am 

Here are some more Rubaiyat-style verses, partly inspired by recent political discussion in SPCF:

The men of words engage in long debates,
With spiced confections on their silver plates;
They talk of duties, dignities and rights
Appropriate to peoples, kings and states.

Some genuflect to Rank, and some to Wealth,
The better to promote a nation's health,
While others fear that powerful elites
Corrupt the body politic by stealth.

They muse, amid the jars of scented oil,
About the worth of Pleasure, Prayer and Toil,
And whether Charity or Enterprise
Can aid poor folk who till the fickle soil.

A pious thinker offers this advice:
"Let love of Man, and faith in God, suffice".
Ah, but the art of working out God's will
In politics is sadly imprecise.

Some heat upwells when they discuss the Rich
And means of levelling life's gaming pitch,
With sharp laments of strife 'twixt 'Us' and 'Them',
But no accord, alas, on which is which.

One voice commends a plutocratic prince
Who charms his troops while men of learning wince.
He blew his bugle on the battlefield
Of Psephos, and has blown it often since.

Another dares suggest that half our pay
Be seized and cast to beggars on the way,
But others hold that voluntary alms
Alone befit Man's soul, as priests would say.

The acrobats appear, the wine abounds,
The minstrels sing and strum their siren sounds,
And soon the slaked contenders disregard
The woes of life beyond the palace grounds.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on April 15th, 2019, 9:14 am 

Here is one I recently posted on another site:

The Worker and the Businessman
(with apologies to Lewis Carroll)

In April, on the thirty-first,
One afternoon at ten,
The news was full of EU talk:
Would Britain leave, and when?
And this was very odd, because
We should have quit by then.

The Worker and the Businessman
Were walking close at hand.
"This Brexit mess", the Worker said,
Is hard to understand."
The Businessman unlocked a safe
And took out twenty grand.

The capitalist turned and said:
"Permit me to explain.
This money represents the wealth
Our citizens can gain
From Britain's European trade –
To lose it is insane".

The Worker told the Businessman:
"I'm wholly unimpressed.
The migrants snaffle half the dosh,
And Brussels takes the rest.
So let's respect the People's vote,
Or else I will protest".

The rich man bade the feisty prole:
"Attend while I correct you.
The terms we face if we secede
Will grievously affect you".
The Worker laughed: "If you were my
MP, I'd deselect you!"

The street was full of mendicants
Who plied their hackneyed spiel.
The Businessman cried out: "Remain!"
The Worker barked: "No deal!"
"It's no good asking twice", they said;
"You folk have no appeal."

The Businessman resumed his theme:
"It's not just In or Out.
You've heard of compromises which
The pundits talk about –
A customs union, or else
A 'Norway' deal, no doubt?"

"The Ulster backstop", he went on,
"Is one more fraught addendum
To all the snags arising from
That wretched referendum.
They're still no nearer solving this
Particular agendum."

"To hell with Irish politics",
The rough-skinned Worker jeered.
"There's lots of Englishmen like me
Who find 'Abroad' quite weird.
Including many Tory toffs
And bourgeois types", he sneered.

They passed a herd of unicorns,
While pigs flew overhead.
"Abroad?" exclaimed the Businessman;
"The whole world's mad", he said.
"Not least our Press and Parliament,
From Blue to deepest Red."

The Worker pondered, then concurred,
And said: "I'll drink to that!"
He raised his cap; the Businessman
Benignly doffed his hat.
For if mankind is rational,
The Earth must needs be flat.

The Businessman caressed the cash,
Then put it back in store;
They vowed to shun the Brexit news
And talk of it no more.
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd heard it all before.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on July 18th, 2019, 1:12 am 

Life, Death and Nothing

I think we nearly all agree
That Nothing can't exist;
But in phenomenology
We find an irksome twist.
For if we bracket out the world
And focus on the 'I'
(As recommended by Husserl),
What happens when we die?

First-personal experience
Is clearly real for now;
But then, upon our sure demise,
It vanishes – but how?
How can our frame of reference
Turn absolutely void?
In any frame, existence 'is'
And cannot be destroyed.

One egress from this paradox
Is simply to deny
That from our proper point of view
We ever really die.
Our lives may form an endless line,
Which may or not recur.
The 'I' may be immortal (or
The 'soul', if you prefer).
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on July 25th, 2019, 10:56 pm 

The New Leader

Now May departs, and Johnson rides the heat
To swagger through the gates of Downing Street.
A diffident but stubborn lady gone;
A clown arrived, to feast our eyes upon.
To middle-aged delight, and youthful jeers,
He crams his Cabinet with Brexiteers,
And trusts that Parliament, when brought to heel,
Will countenance the prospect of No Deal.
Eschewing detail (for his gaze is wide),
He vows to claim back liberties denied
By Europe's grim and meddlesome grandees,
And float our trade on unrestricted seas.

Alas! the body politic is cleft –
The zealots thrive; the cautious are bereft.
Staunch Tories and hard socialists engage,
With packaged dogmas barbed by modish rage,
While those of a more nuanced frame of mind
Are mocked as waverers, or called weak-spined.
As in the States, so in the Queen's fair realm:
A maverick has seized the nation's helm.
Johnson and Corbyn – ah, so mean a choice!
Can Fortune interpose no wiser voice?
Our progress stalls, although the din is high;
The country has two wings, but cannot fly.
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And about time...

Postby Positor on June 17th, 2020, 12:38 am 

A thinker said: "Time doesn't flow.
Past, present and future? Oh no!
Spacetime is a block,
So things like a clock
Have temporal parts, but don't 'go'.

"Our sense of a transient 'now'
Is subjective (but don't ask me how).
Read up-to-date theories:
McTaggart's B-series
(Untensed) is the one they allow".
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on July 25th, 2020, 9:06 pm 

A Vinous Verse

Though hardened revellers prefer
The stronger forms of drink,
The charms of the fermented grape
Appeal to folk who think.
Discerning laymen can agree
With smooth-tongued cognoscenti
That wine brings pleasures ever new,
With vintages aplenty.

The long-established types produced
In Europe's balmy south
Compete with those from far away
To lure our nose and mouth.
From dry to sweet, from white to red
The subtle nectars range,
To satisfy our fluid taste
As hours and seasons change.

Some vineyards are arrayed on hills
And others on the plain;
The former kind in Germany,
The latter more in Spain.
As different lands have different laws,
Their viticultures vary,
While climate has distinct effects
On riverbank or prairie.

We love the rich, exquisite names
Like Châteauneuf-du-Pape,
Inscribed in tongues from sundry realms
Across the global map.
By day, we may require a spur
From tea or cappuccino,
But when we shelve our worldly cares,
Naught soothes our soul like vino.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby Positor on October 10th, 2020, 10:18 am 

Philosophical Clerihews

René Descartes
Was undoubtedly very smart.
He is famous for his insistence
That we can prove our own existence.

Willard Van Orman Quine
Had something in common with Wittgenstein.
Both wrote about words and names
And meanings, logic and language games.

Immanuel Kant,
Unlike Nietzsche, did not rant.
He wrote such dense Critiques
That reading just one chapter can take weeks.

Martin Heidegger was far worse;
His love of obscurity was quite perverse.
He used many a German word
That no other German had ever heard.

David Hume believed in empiricism;
Though a Scot, he spurned Celtic lyricism.
He found no evidence for God –
A view which his contemporaries found most odd.

Arthur Schopenhauer
Was a pessimist who would sit and glower.
He wrote a lot about the Will,
And thought everything was going rapidly downhill.

Plato's Forms
May not accord with modern scientific norms,
But his originality in conceiving them
Can be admired without actually believing them.

Thomas Hobbes insisted
That no innate virtue existed,
And that societies would go wrong
Unless their rulers were strong.
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Re: Positor's Poems

Postby charon on October 10th, 2020, 3:06 pm 

Positor is a goodly soul
Whose verses are exceeding droll
It's guaranteed they always rhyme
Quite often just in the nick of time :-)
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