Energeia, Spring 2013
The spring 2013 issue of Energeia, the St. John's College literary magazine, featuring fiction, essay, poetry, photography, and more from members of the St. John's community.
energeia spring 2013 2 3 energeia editors Nathan Goldman Ian Tuttle staff Daniel Gilles John Henry Fahey Reilly Ekemezie Uche faculty advisor Fawn Trigg cover by Daniel Gilles: Eroica 4 contents Erik G. Neave James Fackino Robert Schuerman William Loder Margaret Matthews Alexander Djalal Ekemezie Uche Connor Callahan Charles Zug 7 8 19 20 25 33 34 36 38 42 Shayna Jenkins Gürer Gündöndü Robert Schuerman 57 62 64 To the Heart of a Nation On Myths and Mythology originally by Paul Valéry It Seems As If I Do Remember originally by Alfred de Musset The “Invention” of Speech in Hobbes’ Leviathan Untitled Sonnet Most Wonderful Man from Sophocles’ Antigone And How Long is a November Day? Isthmian 3 originally by Pindar Isthmian 3 - An Interpretative Essay Why I Go to St. John’s Lavinia originally by Ozdemir Asaf A Poem 5 artwork Peggy Bair Caleb Bernard 6 65 18 37 61 24 32 56 Thorndike Maine Think sky turkey vulture red-tailed hawk Allumer les Mers Treetacles Emerging from the Cave Ekemezie Uche Elizabeth Janthey 6 Thorndike Maine / Peggy Bair 7 To the Heart of a Nation Erik G. Neave To the heart of a nation and back, Circular pulsation across glass wet roads, Bending the beginning to the end. Through rearview mirrors facing backwards The coming and the leaving behind Begin to blur and fade until all that is seen Is the empty space that separates: the One from the other The lion from the lamb The body from the corpse The blood from the river. And that space shrinks so small That it is no distance at all. Like the drops of rain on the Rear-viewed road never altogether Disappear, but only lose their Separation in the dangling threads of Sky to soil to man-made; ever returning To be woven, lace-like, on the surface. They support the snaking journey As a quilt protecting and a scaffold Lifting us from earth and putting Each piece in its place: The jaw to the teeth The wool to the ďŹ‚eece The heart to the breast. The red lonely stream returns again From hung veins in the sky. 8 Sur les Mythes et la Mythologie Paul Valéry … Mythe est le nom de tout ce qui n’existe et ne subsiste qu’ayant la parole pour cause. Il n’est de discours si obscur, de racontar si bizarre, de propos si incohérent à quoi nous ne puissions donner un sens. Il y a toujours une supposition qui donne un sens au langage le plus étrange. Imaginez encore que plusieurs récits de la même affaire, ou des rapports divers du même événement vous soient faits par des livres ou par des témoins qui ne s’accordent pas entre eux quoique également dignes de foi. Dire qu’ils ne s’accordent pas, c’est dire que leur diversité simultanée compose un monstre. Leur concurrence procrée une chimère… Mais un monstre ou une chimère qui ne sont point viables dans le fait, sont à leur aise dans le vague des esprits. Une combinaison de la femme et du poisson est une sirène, et la forme d’une sirène se fait aisément accepter. Mais une vivante sirène se fait aisément accepter. Mais une vivante sirène est-elle possible? Je ne suis pas du tout assuré que nous soyons déjà si experts dans les sciences de la vie que nous puissions refuser la vie aux sirènes par raison démonstrative. Il faudrait bien de l’anatomie et de la physiologie pour leur opposer autre chose que ce fait: Les modernes jamais n’en ont pêché! Ce qui périt par un peu plus de précision est un mythe. Sous la rigueur du regard, et sous les coups multipliés et convergents des questions 9 On Myths and Mythology translated by Jim Fackino Myth is the name for all that exists and subsists only having speech as its cause. There is no discourse so obscure, no talk so bizarre, no remark so incoherent, that we cannot give it meaning. There is always an assumption that gives meaning to the strangest language. Imagine, still, that several narratives of the same affair, or diverse reports of the same event, have been made for you in books or by witnesses that are not in accord with one another, although equally trustworthy. To say that they are not in accord is to say that their simultaneous diversity composes a monster. Their competition procreates a chimera… But a monster or chimera, though not viable within ‘fact,’ is at ease in the vagueness of minds. A combination of woman and ﬁsh is a mermaid, and the form of a mermaid is easily accepted. But a living mermaid—is she possible? I am not at all assured that we are already so expert in the life-sciences that we can refuse life to mermaids by demonstrative reason. Much anatomy and physiology would be needed to oppose them with anything other than this fact: moderns have never caught one of them! That which perishes by a little more precision is a myth. Under rigor’s look, and under the multiple and convergent blows from questions and categorical interrogations with which the wakeful mind arms itself on all sides, you see myths die and 10 et des interrogations catégoriques dont l’esprit éveillé s’arme de toutes parts, vous voyez les mythes mourir, et s’appauvrir indéﬁniment la faune des choses vagues et des idées… Les mythes se décomposent à la lumière que fait en nous la présence combinée de notre corps et de notre sens du plus haut degré. Voyez comme le cauchemar compose en un drame tout-puissant toute diversité de sensations indépendantes qui nous travaille sous le sommeil. Une main sous le corps est prise; un pied qui s’est découvert et délivré des langes, se refroidit au loin du reste du dormeur; de matinaux passants vocifèrent à l’aube dans la rue; l’estomac vide s’étire et les entrailles fermentent; quelque lueur du grand soleil levant inquiète vaguement la rétine au travers des paupières abaissées,… autant de données séparées et incohérentes; et personne pour les réduire à elles-mêmes et au monde connu, pour les organiser, retenir les uns, abolir les autres, ordonner leurs valeurs et nous permettre de passer outré. Mais toutes ensemble sont comme des conditions égales, et devant être également satisfaites. Il en résulte une création originale, absurde, incompatible avec la suite de la vie, toute-puissante, tout effrayante, qui n’a en soi-même aucun principe de ﬁn, point d’issue, point de limite… Il en est ainsi dans le détail de la veille, mais avec moins d’unité. Toute l’histoire de la pensée n’est que le jeu d’une inﬁnité de petits cauchemars à grandes conséquences, tandis que dans les sommeils s’observent de grands cauchemars à très courte et très faible conséquence. 11 the fauna of vague things and ideas grow impoverished indeﬁnitely… Myths decompose in that light produced in us by the combined presence of our body and our sense of the highest degree. See how the nightmare composes into one all-powerful drama all the diversity of independent sensations that do their work on us in sleep. A hand is caught under the body; a foot uncovered, and delivered from the blankets, cools far from the rest of the sleeper; some early morning passers-by shout in the street at daybreak; the empty stomach stretches out and the bowels ferment; some ray from the great rising sun vaguely disturbs the retina through lowered lids,… so many givens, separate and incoherent; and no one to reduce them to themselves and to the known world, to organize them, retain some, abolish others, to put their values in order and permit us to pass beyond. But all are together like equal conditions, and have to be equally satisﬁed. It results in an original creation, absurd, incompatible with what follows in life, all-powerful, all-terrifying, which has not in itself any principle of end, issue, limit… It is thus in the details of waking hours, but with less unity. All the history of thought is nothing but the play of an inﬁnity of little nightmares of great consequences, whereas in sleep are observed great nightmares of very short and very weak consequence. 12 Tout notre langage est composé de petits songes brefs; et ce qu’il y a de beau, c’est que nous en formons quelquefois des pensées étrangement justes et merveilleusement raisonnables. En vérité, il y a tant de mythes en nous et si familiers qu’il est presque impossible de séparer nettement de notre esprit quelque chose qui n’en soit point. On ne peut même en parler sans mythiﬁer encore, et ne fais-je point dans cet instant le mythe du mythe pour répondre au caprice d’un mythe? Oui, je ne sais que faire pour sortir de ce qui n’est pas, chères âmes! Tant la parole nous peuple et peuple tout, que l’on ne voit comment s’y prendre pour s’abstenir des imaginaires dont rien ne se passe… Songez que demain est un mythe, que l’univers en est un; que le nombre, que l’amour, que le réel comme l’inﬁni, que la justice, le peuple, la poésie…la terre elle-même en sont! Et le pôle même en est un, car ceux qui prétendent d’y être allés n’ont pensé y être que par des raisons qui sont indivisibles de la parole… J’oubliais tout le passé… Tout l’histoire n’est que mythes, et n’est faite que de pensées auxquelles nous ajoutons cette valeur essentiellement mythique qu’elles représentent ce qui fut. Chaque instant tombe à chaque instant dans l’imaginaire, et à peine l’on est mort, l’on s’en va rejoindre, avec la vitesse de la lumière, les centaures et les anges… Que dis-je! A peine le dos tourné, à peine sortis de la vue, l’opinion fait de nous ce qu’elle peut! 13 All our language is composed of little brief dreams; and what is beautiful about it, is that we sometimes form strangely right and marvelously reasonable thoughts from them. In truth, there are so many myths in us, so familiar, that it is nearly impossible to separate cleanly in our mind anything that may not be one of them. One cannot even speak of it without further mythicizing, and am I not at this very instant making the myth of myth, in reply to the whim of a myth? Yes, dear souls, I know not what to do to escape from what is not! So much does speech populate us and populate all, that we cannot see how one is to undertake abstaining from the imaginary things that none get past… Dream that tomorrow is a myth, that the universe is one; that number, that love, that the real as well as the inﬁnite, that justice, people, poetry… the earth itself are some! And even the Pole is one, for those who claim having gone there have thought it only for reasons that are indivisible from speech… I was forgetting all the past… All history is nothing but myth, and is made only of thoughts to which we add this essentially mythical value: that they represent what was. Each instant falls upon each instant into the imaginary, and one is hardly dead before one goes off with the speed of light to rejoin the centaurs and the angels… What am I saying! Hardly the back turned, hardly escaped from view, before opinion makes of us what it can! 14 Je retourne à l’histoire. Comme insensiblement elle se change en rêve à mesure qu’elle s’éloigne du présent! Tout près de nous ce ne sont encore que des mythes tempérés, gênés par des textes non incroyables, par des vestiges matériels qui modèrent un peu notre fantaisie. Mais après trois ou quatre mille ans en deçà de notre naissance, on est en pleine liberté. Enﬁn, dans le vide du mythe du temps pur, et vierge de quoi que ce soit qui ressemble à ce qui nous touché, — l’esprit assuré seulement qu’il y a eu quelque chose, contraint par se nécessité essentielle de supposer un antécédent, des « causes », des supports à ce qui est, ou à ce qu’il est, — enfante des époques, des états, des événements, des êtres, des principes, des images et des histoires de plus en plus naïves, qui font songer, ou qui se réduisent aisément à cette cosmologie si sincère des Indous, quand ils plaçaient la terre, aﬁn de la soutenir dans l’espace, sur le dos d’un immense éléphant; cette bête se tenant sur une tortue; elle-même portée par une mer que contenait je ne sais quel vase… Le philosophe le plus profond, le physicien le mieux armé, le géomètre le mieux pourvu de ces moyens que Laplace nommait « les ressources de l’analyse la plus sublime », — ne peuvent ni ne savent faire autre chose. C’est pourquoi il m’est arrivé d’écrire, certain jour: au commencement était la Fable! Ce qui veut dire que toute origine, toute aurore des choses est de la même substance que les chansons et que les contes qui environnent les berceaux. 15 I return to history. How insensibly it changes into dream as it removes itself from the present! Near us, they are still only temperate myths, hindered by some not unbelievable texts, by some material remains that moderate our fancy a little. But beyond three or four thousand years before our birth, one is at full liberty. Finally, in the void of the myth of pure time, virginal to whatever it may be that resembles what we touch, the mind—assured only that there was something, constrained by its essential necessity of assuming an antecedent, ‘causes,’ supports to what is, or to what it is,—gives birth to epochs, states, events, beings, principles, images and histories more and more ingenuous, which make one dream of, or which easily reduce to, that so sincere cosmology of Hindus, when they used to place the earth, so as to sustain it in space, on the back of an immense elephant; that beast holding onto a tortoise; itself carried by a sea that was contained by I know not what vessel… The deepest philosopher, the best-armed physician, the geometer best equipped with those means Laplace named “the resources of the most sublime analysis,”—cannot and know not how to make anything else. That is why it came to me to write, one certain day: in the beginning was the Fable! Which means that every origin, every dawn of things, is of the same substance as the songs and tales that surround cradles. 16 C’est une sorte de loi absolue que partout, en tout lieu, à toute période de la civilisation, dans toute croyance, au moyen de quelle discipline que ce soit, et sous tous les rapports, — le faux supporte le vrai; le vrai se donne le faux pour ancêtre, pour cause, pour auteur, pour origine, sans exception ni remède, — et le vrai engendre ce faux dont il exige d’être soi-même engendré. Toute antiquité, toute causalité, tout principe des êtres sont inventions fabuleuses et obéissent aux lois simples de l’invention. Que serions-nous sans le secours de ce qui n’existe pas? Peu de chose, et nos esprits bien inoccupés languiraient si les mythes, les fables, les méprises, les abstractions, les croyances et les monstres, les hypothèses et les prétendus problèmes de la métaphysique ne peuplaient d’êtres et d’images sans objets nos profondeurs et nos ténèbres naturelles. Les mythes sont les âmes de nos actions et de nos amours. Nous ne pouvons agir qu’en nous mouvant vers un fantôme, nous ne pouvons aimer que ce que nous créons. 17 It is a kind of absolute law that everywhere, in every place, at every period of civilization, in every belief, by means of whatever discipline it may be, and beneath all reports,â€”the false supports the true; the true gives itself over to the false for an ancestor, for a cause, for an author, for an origin, without exception or remedy,â€”and the true engenders the false, from which it itself demands to be engendered. All antiquity, all causality, every principle of beings, are fabulous inventions and obey the simple laws of invention. What would we be without the help of what does not exist? Not much, and our very unoccupied minds would languish if myths, fables, misapprehensions, abstractions, beliefs and monsters, hypotheses and the so-called problems of metaphysics did not populate our depths and natural darkness with beings and objectless images. Myths are the souls of our actions and of our loves. We can act only by moving toward a phantom, we can love only what we create. 18 sky / Caleb Bernard 19 It Seems As If I Do Robert Schuerman I won’t say why life is the way it is, Some say it’s gleaned in dreams by one who knows Where conscious things may go, once they are gone, But is there really some place else to go? I dare not hope to show you of these things Although at times, it seems as if I do Look through our lives, till seeing, somehow, we Are of a dream where we are dreaming too, For then, by god, as if we all are one, Have many different pointed points of view Which makes me feel I’m mad...as off I go Upon this quest called life, to sally forth With both eyes smiling on one sorrowful face In faith...to share this crazy plot of grace. 20 Rappelle-Toi Alfred de Musset (Vergiss mein nicht.) Paroles Faites Sur La Musique de Mozart Rappelle-toi, quand l’aurore craintive Ouvre au Soleil son palais enchanté; Rappelle-toi, lorsque la nuit pensive Passe en rêvant sous son voile argenté; A l’appel du plaisir lorsque ton sein palpite, Aux doux songes du soir lorsque l’ombre t’invite, Écoute, au fond du bois Murmurer une voix: Rappelle-toi. Rappelle-toi, lorsque les destinées M’auront de toi pour jamais séparé, Quand le chagrin, l’exil et l’années Auront ﬂetri ce cœur désespéré; Songe à mon triste amour, songe à l’adieu suprême! L’absence ni le temps ne sont rien quand on aime. Tant que mon cœur battra, Toujours il te dira: Rappelle-toi. 21 Remember translated by William Loder (Forget me not.) Remarks Made on the Music of Mozart Remember, when the timid Dawn Opens to the Sun his enchanted palace; Remember, once the pensive night Passes away in dreaming under its silvery veil; To the call of pleasure when your heart beats, To sweet dreams of the evening when the shadow invites you. Listen, from the deep of the woods A voice murmurs: Remember. Remember, when our destinies Will have separated me from you forever, When sorrow, exile, and the years Will have made this hopeless heart go dry; Dream of my sad love, dream of the ďŹ nal adieu! Neither absence nor time is anything when one loves. However much my heart will beat, Always will I tell you: Remember. 22 Rappelle-toi, quand sous la froid terre Mon cœur brisé pour toujours dormira; Rappelle-toi, quand la ﬂeur solitaire Sur mon tombe doucement s’ouvrira. Je ne te verrais plus; mais mon âme immortelle Reviendra près de toi comme une sœur ﬁdèle. Écoute, dans la nuit, Une voix qui gémit: Rappelle-toi. 23 Remember, when under the cold earth My broken heart will sleep forever; Remember, when the lonely ďŹ‚ower On my tomb will gently open its petals. I will no longer see you; but my immortal soul Will return to you like a faithful sister. Listen, in the night, A voice that sighs: Remember. 24 Allumer les Mers / Ekemezie Uche 25 The “Invention” of Speech in Hobbes’ Leviathan Margaret Matthews “But the most noble and proﬁtable invention of all other was that of SPEECH, consisting of names or appellations, and their connexion, whereby men register their thoughts, recall them when they are past, and also declare them one to another for mutual utility and conversation, without which there had been amongst men, neither commonwealth, nor society, nor contract, nor peace, no more than amongst lions, bears and wolves.” (Leviathan, ch. iv)1 In chapter iv of the Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes introduces speech with the remarkable claim that it is the source and foundation of civil society. Without speech, not only civil society, but common experience too is impossible for man. We cannot genuinely live together nor be of any use to one another in a world without speech. Hobbes’ other assertion is that speech has a kind of nobility and utility to which no other invention may lay claim. It is useful because it is what allows us to think and relate to one another in the ﬁrst place. It is noble because it opens up the possibility of human excellence. Hobbes’ characterization of speech is striking in a number of ways. First we might ask: Why does Hobbes choose to characterize speech as an “invention” at all? Hobbes cannot be alluding to 1 All quotations are from Thomas Hobbes, “Of Speech,” Leviathan: with selected variants from the Latin edition of 1668, ed. Edwin Curley (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1994), 15-22. 26 any speciﬁc time or place in history in which man thought to invent the spoken word. Deliberate mental discourse, as described throughout chapter iv, depends on speech itself. Hobbes’ genealogy of speech is a logical rather than temporal one. That is, Hobbes is not giving a strictly historical account of the development of civil society out of the development of speech. Rather, he is taking human nature and dissecting it so that he may order its many layers. At the bottommost layer speech may not be found, but this does not necessarily mean that there was ever any time or place in which man as such existed without it. Hobbes suggests that it is by means of speech alone that man has the power to drastically change his natural state. He says “as men abound in copiousness of language, so they become more wise, or more mad than ordinary.” Language is a product of human nature that has a unique power. Unlike sense, or imagination, for instance, which are merely given, language is presented to us to be used—that is, either well or poorly. How we use it determines whether we will be more “excellently wise” or “more mad” than ordinary. With the invention of language, there is suddenly a lot more at stake. Creativity and deliberation, for instance, must always be involved in the way we use words. Hobbes shows this in his careful construction and deconstruction of deﬁnitions throughout the Leviathan. He also argues that a meticulous care for deﬁnitions can improve our reasoning. It is only by providing accurate deﬁnitions that we are provided with a solid foundation for our reason- 27 ings. Hobbes’ claim is that these developments have the power to improve both our public and private lives. How exactly does “the invention of speech” help us live in society? Of course, the promises and agreements that life in society depends upon could never take place in a world without words. But when Hobbes speaks of the utility of speech, he seems to mean something much deeper than that. He says: “The general use of speech is to transfer our mental discourse into verbal, or the train of our thoughts into a train of words.” In this statement, he posits two worlds: the world of thought and the world of words. These two worlds, through their separation and connection, seem to provide the metaphysical basis of common experience. The private mental world can be made public, either for one's own use or for the use of others, by means of words. The public world of speech can then be made private, and provide the content for thought. This separation of realms, while helpful in accounting for our use of spoken language, is only a separation in speech. For us to engage in “mental discourse” at all, we must do so by means of speech. By this I mean that there cannot be any genuine separation between thought and language. We speak our thoughts and we think in speech. Concerning this impact of words on the human mind, Hobbes says: “By this imposition of names, some of larger, some of stricter signiﬁcation, we turn the reckoning of the consequences of things imagined in the mind into the consequences 28 of appellations.” Hobbes admits to the existence of some sort of cognitive activity in which words have no place. However, this activity is not discursive, but simply perceptive. Before the advent of speech, man could not extend his thought across time. He is stuck in his immediate perception of the “now.” It is only through the invention of speech that man’s perception can be transformed into apperception. That is, it is only out of speech that self-consciousness arises. The signiﬁcance of this development is monumental. Through the deepening of man’s private life, a public life is made possible. The transfer of mental discourse to the spoken word allows man to be reﬂective, that is, to speak his thoughts to himself so as to behold them as if from the outside. Once these words exist on the outside, they may be shared. The public signiﬁcation of words allows us to partake in a kind of communal self. Public discourse, or communal thought, comes with new beneﬁts as well as burdens. The beneﬁt is the possibility of common experience. The burden is that we can now be held accountable—by ourselves and by others—to the things we say. Speech allows for accountability because of its inextricable relationship to time. Hobbes says of the role of time in the development of mental discourse: “And thus the consequence found in one particular comes to be registered and remembered as an universal rule, and discharges our mental reckoning of time and place, and delivers us from all labour of the mind, saving the ﬁrst, and makes that which was found true here and now, to 29 be true in all times and places.” When the spoken word transfers our mental discourse outside ourselves, it permits us to transcend the particularity of our immediate perceptive experience. When we reﬂect upon, or even simply hear spoken words, we encounter something said then from the standpoint of now, and something said there from the standpoint of here. When the same connection between sets of words is preserved regardless of our position of time and place, the notion of generality is born. Abstraction from the particular to the universal is what makes another “invention” possible, namely truth. According to Hobbes, truth enters into human experience as soon as two names are joined together as a consequence or afﬁrmation. If the latter name signiﬁes all that the former name does, the consequence or afﬁrmation is true, and if not, it is false. This suggests that the truths we tell are formally tautologous. That is, whenever we tell a truth, we are joining one deﬁnition to another and making the claim that their signiﬁcations are the same. Once man is capable of telling truths, he is also capable of telling lies. This is why the invention of the spoken word makes us accountable in a way that natural perception and imagination did not. Through speech, we are capable of error. Regarding this signiﬁcance of the spoken word, Hobbes says: “Nature itself cannot err.” It is only by means of words that we have the power to deceive both ourselves and others. In fact, three of Hobbes’ four “abuses of speech” are modes of de- 30 ception. The ﬁrst, is self-deception, or the inconstant signiﬁcation of words. The second and third are the deception of others by means of metaphor and lies. These abuses are considered as such because they prevent men from living together in a society. If words cannot be granted some constant meaning, mental discourse, or in fact any discourse at all, is impossible. The essential problem of deception is not that words are given new meaning simply, but that they are given new meaning privately. For Hobbes, it is private judgement on the signiﬁcation of words and not public reform that destroys meaning. Words must have public signiﬁcation if they are to be useful at all. Language can certainly be changed or reformed. In fact, Hobbes allows and even encourages such reform when he says, “it appears how necessary it is for any man that aspires to true knowledge, to examine the deﬁnitions of former authors, and either to correct them where they are negligently set down, or to make them himself.” Linguistic reform is entirely different from deception. It is conducive rather than destructive to civil society, because it seeks to promote rather than subvert meaning. Once Hobbes has introduced the notion of truth into his account of human nature, he is quick to remind us of the metaphysical status of truth and falsity. He says, “true and false are attributes of speech, not of things. And where speech is not, there is neither truth nor falsehood.” Hobbes insists that the true locus of truth is in speech and not the world. However, this might lead one to wonder: Where does this leave the connection between 31 words and things? Hobbesâ€™ intent does not seem to be to sever the connection between language and world. Words and deďŹ nitions, he believes, are not simply arbitrary. In fact, throughout chapter iv, Hobbes catalogues the kinds of things that are properly subject to names and deďŹ nitions. If words had simply no connection to the world they represent, the project of a more accurate philosophical language would be unnecessary. Given this, it seems clear that there must be some correspondence between the truths we tell and the things they are about. Hobbes, however, does not further develop his notion of the relationship between truth and the world. Instead, he continues his exposition of truth and speech as they relate to civil society. Hobbes initially turns to these topics because of their relationship to man. He makes no attempt to remove our perspective on the world to some place outside or beyond human nature. To understand man, we must look at truth and speech as they relate to him exclusively, that is, as inventions. This means that we must investigate these inventions in terms of their power and utility. Hobbes attempts this throughout the rest of the Leviathan by showing us what these inventions make possible, namely civil society. 32 Treetacles / Ekemezie Uche 33 Untitled Sonnet Alexander Djalal Why, o Venus, do you in my heart ﬁnd An arbiter of your romantic will? Such faith is placed in pumps and valves designed, Not for Love, but to keep from growing still My body’s steady life blood beating. Is Love constrained away by chamber’s chains, Or by vital vessels made less ﬂeeting? Just constant coursing life my heart maintains, Until that pump does cease my veins entreat Them to refresh their fragile ﬂow inside. Desire, by design, must skip a beat But in this case my heart cannot preside. On Love’s behalf my heart I must forsake; Too much inclined is he to beat and break. 34 Polla Ta Deina From Sophocles’ Antigone πολλὰ τὰ δεινὰ κοὐδὲν ἀνθρώπου δεινότερον πέλει. τοῦτο καὶ πολιοῦ πέραν πόντου χειμερίῳ νότῳ χωρεῖ, περιβρυχίοισιν περῶν ὑπ᾽ οἴδμασιν. θεῶν τε τὰν ὑπερτάταν, Γᾶν ἄφθιτον, ἀκαμάταν, ἀποτρύεται ἰλλομένων ἀρότρων ἔτος εἰς ἔτος ἱππείῳ γένει πολεύων. 35 Most Wonderful Man translated by Ekemezie Uche Many are the wonders, but none are so wonderful as man Across many stormy winds and grey seas, this Wonder doth span Meandering through the engulďŹ ng swells The greatest of the gods, Earth the immortal, the untiring, he fells With ploughs tumbling back and forth across the years So man overthrows Earth, by means of a brood oâ€™ mares. 36 And How Long is a November Day? Connor Callahan Already old, the seasons change without passing perceptibly, an indication that our lives— steadfast in their resolution to resolve, dissolve and be reanimated, at once concentrated purely but so artfully contrived— survive from one tenth of a second signal to the next. All interior measurements divulge divergent values, because our personal equations simply can’t match up. It’s a positive result based on a priori necessities, which only necessitate, barely explicate, and in fact regurgitate, that the supposition has been both lost and found, in and out of boundaries that must not be crossed. We drag our humming crosses to the wheel so we may sharpen our stakes, clearly marking out this little plot of time and space that has been offered to us. We must bear this seasonal cross. 37 turkey vulture / Caleb Bernard 38 Isthmian 3 Pindar ΜΕΛΙΣΣΩι ΘΗΒΑΙΩιΙΠΠΟΙΣ εἴ τις ἀνδρῶν εὐτυχήσαις ἢ σὺν εὐδόξοις ἀέθλοις? ἢ σθένει πλούτου κατέχει φρασὶν αἰανῆ κόρον,? ἄξιος εὐλογίαις ἀστῶν μεμίχθαι.? Ζεῦ, μεγάλαι δ᾽ ἀρεταὶ θνατοῖς ἕπονται? ���κ σέθεν: ζώει δὲ μάσσων ὄλβος ὀπιζομένων, πλαγίαις δὲ φρένεσσιν? οὐχ ὁμῶς πάντα χρόνον θάλλων ὁμιλεῖ.? εὐκλέων δ᾽ ἔργων ἄποινα χρὴ μὲν ὑμνῆσαι τὸν ἐσλόν,? χρὴ δὲ κωμάζοντ᾽ ἀγαναῖς χαρίτεσσιν βαστάσαι.? ἔστι δὲ καὶ διδύμων ἀέθλων Μελίσσῳ? μοῖρα πρὸς εὐφροσύναν τρέψαι γλυκεῖαν? ἦτορ, ἐν βάσσαισιν Ἰσθμοῦ δεξαμένῳ στεφάνους, τὰ δὲ κοίλᾳ λέοντος? ἐν βαθυστέρνου νάπᾳ κάρυξε Θήβαν 39 Isthmian 3 translated by Charles Zug “For Melissos of Thebes: Winner, Chariot Race” (Strophe) If any man is fortunate, either in glorious prizes Or power of wealth, and holds down direful satiety from his mind, Worthy is he to be mixed with the ﬁne words of his townsmen. Zeus, from you great virtues follow with mortals; Blessedness lives longer in pious-living And shares company with treacherous minds, Though not ﬂourishing for all time. (Antistrophe) In recompense for deeds of good repute It is necessary to laud the brave man, Necessary, reveling, to bear him up with mild graces. And destiny of twofold contests is with Melissos, To turn his heart to sweet well-mindedness; In the glades of Isthmos he accepted the crowns, And in the hollow glen of the deep chested lion he proclaimed Thebes 40 ἱπποδρομίᾳ κρατέων. ἀνδρῶν δ᾽ ἀρετὰν? σύμφυτον οὐ κατελέγχει.? ἴστε μὰν Κλεωνύμου? δόξαν παλαιὰν ἅρμασιν:? καὶ ματρόθε Λαβδακίδαισιν σύννομοι πλούτου διέστειχον τετραοριᾶν πόνοις.? αἰὼν δὲ κυλινδομέναις ἁμέραις ἄλλ᾽ ἄλλοτ᾽ ἐξ άλλαξεν: ἄτρωτοί γε μὰν παῖδες θεῶν. 41 (Epode) By conquering in the chariot race, But the congenital virtue of men he disgraces not. Surely you all know Kleonumosâ€™s ancient glory in chariots, And his maternal side, as relatives of the Labdakidai By wealth went their way to toils with the fourhorse chariot. But a lifetime, by days rolling-over from one time to another, Changes. Surely the unwounded are children of God. 42 “Isthmian 3” An Interpretative Essay Charles Zug On its surface “Isthmian 3” is an ode to Melissos of Thebes, winner of the four-horse chariot race. Yet a closer look at Pindar’s praise reveals amid the ode’s seemingly simple moral message several incongruences that suggest Pindar is not merely concerned with praising his patron and providing an historical account of the winner of the Isthmian Games. Why does Pindar appear to distinguish between the blessed man and the man who is “worthy to be mixed in the ﬁne words of his townsmen”? What is the worthy man like, and who determines that he is worthy of being an example to his city? In this essay I argue that Pindar employs the form of the “Victory Ode”1 to articulate the poet’s role (as opposed to the god’s role) in determining morality, and that Pindar is thereby raising the question of the origin of morality in general. The question that drives the entire ode is a moral one: What constitutes the worthy man? The strophe proposes two answers: the ﬁrst discusses the kind of man who is worthy of his city’s praise; the second discusses the man who is blessed by the gods. We will compare these ideas to see whether Pindar indicates a preference. The conditional statement that opens the ode suggests two factors in evaluating what kind 43 of moral quality in man ought to be praised by the city: “power of wealth” and “glorious games.” To understand how these factors relate to “direful satiety,” and ultimately to the man’s moral quality, we must understand what these factors mean by themselves. What is “power of wealth”? The phrase is ambivalent: it could mean the power wealth equips men with, or the power wealth has over men. As for “glorious contests,” Pindar means all notable contests. His language could have been more precise had he wanted to refer speciﬁcally to the Isthmian Games and the victory of Melissos. All glorious contests are contests known to an audience, hence their “glory” ( , or as it occurs in line 2, ). A man fortunate in such a contest will be widely known in the city, and it is likely that he will remain well-known in the city for a long time—long enough for the city to witness either his continual prosperity or his decline. Alas, while a man may be fortunate in wealth or contests, “direful satiety” will attempt to rise up in his mind; his reaction must be to hold it down ( ), i.e., to maintain authority over himself by suppressing inner rebellion.2 Here “direful” ( , derived from , “ever”) implies lasting and enduring dreariness. The word for satiety, ,3 means fullness, or surfeit—the relaxation that follows a big dinner, but also its attendant weakness, particularly of self-restraint. And satiation signiﬁes not just an overabundance but a mishandling of overabundance. So understood, it is in the power of wealth to cause satiety in wealthy men. Yet sati- 44 ety also causes men to lose their power of wealth. The relationship between “power of wealth” and “satiety” points to a problem all prominent men must face: What causes a decline in power? Is wealth itself the cause, or is the cause its mismanagement? Does the power of wealth corrupt, or is wealth the plague of certain susceptible men? “Glorious prizes” raise a similar problem, though this seems less general than the problem of wealth. How does satiety follow on glorious contests? The only prize awarded at the Isthmian Games was a laurel crown; it would seem impossible to become satiated on such a prize. Rather, Pindar seems to be referring to the swollen pride that often overwhelms successful contenders. This results in complacency; the vigor and prowess that were the instruments of victory diminish. With regard to both “power of wealth” and “glorious contests” it is important to distinguish between satiation and pride. For example: Achilles was proud, arrogant, and “full of himself,” but he was certainly not satiated, incapable, or “full to the brim.” Coriolanus was fortunate in power of wealth and glorious contests, but success did not satiate him; it encouraged him.4 The same can be said of Thucydides’ Periclean Athens, which decided to pursue the Sicilian expedition. What Pindar says about satiation recalls Book 8 of the Republic, in which Socrates mentions the sons of oligarchs who become “drones” and allow oligarchy to become democracy (556e; 557a). Drones are lazy; they are soft and vulnerable to the lean and tanned poor ready to rise up (556d). 45 When he speaks of satiety, Pindar means the man who, after gaining victory, falls prey to stagnation and laziness; he does not mean the proud and the enterprising who remain hungry for glory and wealth. Pindar presents his moral teaching in the apodosis of the sentence: If any man manages to hold down satiation, then he is “worthy to be mixed in the ﬁne words of his townsmen” ( ). A mere congratulations for the wealthy or victorious man is one thing, but for him to be mixed in (ﬁne-words) is another. Fine words are not merely wreaths for his brow or songs for his glory. Rather, as wine is mixed in ) in the words water,5 so is this man “mixed” ( of his city. How? He becomes the subject of poetry. When the poet sings his praises, the celebrated man ceases to be merely an individual; he is made inseparable from the ﬁne-words of his city. In the language of Aristotle’s Poetics, he becomes “universal” as opposed to “particular.”6 The poet, then, not only has the power to make men the subject of poetry, but to decide what kinds of men are ﬁt to be the subject of poetry. This seems to be the issue at stake in the Republic: the poet wields immense power because he holds sway with the mob and determines in large part who the city will hold in good repute (493d). Yet the Republic itself is an example of such poetry: Plato, the poet, determines that Socrates, the philosopher, is worthy of being mixed in the words of the city.7 Thucydides is the same kind of poet, making Periclean Athens known to all ages. So is Homer, who poeticizes 46 Achilles and Odysseus.8 Thus in line 4, Pindar the poet and singer of eulogies brings himself into his own poetry—albeit in a most subtle way. In the protasis of the ﬁrst strophe Pindar describes a kind of man: one who keeps down direful satiety in spite of “power of wealth” and “glorious prizes.” In the apodosis he presents his moral teaching, declaring that kind of man “worthy to be mixed in the ﬁne words of his townsmen,” i.e., worthy to be eulogized by the poet. Pindar is describing his own task and responsibility. It is crucial, then, that we understand precisely what kind of man Pindar has described in the apodosis. In line 1 he says “if any man is fortunate, either in glorious prizes or power of wealth….” Pindar is interested in the moral qualities of men, the qualities that enable powerful men to hold down satiety. Pindar is speaking directly to the task poets are charged with: not merely eulogizing victorious athletes on account of their victories, but eulogizing men on account of moral superiority. The superior man is taken up again in the antistrophe. The “brave man” must be “lauded” (literally, or “sung about”). Lauding, singing, and “mixing in ﬁne words” are all tasks of the poet. The brave or good man ( ) of whom Pindar now speaks is certainly not satiated, but rather is consistently bold in the face of danger. is Doric Greek for , which is similar to and can mean brave, good, wealthy, and fortunate—qualities of the man who “holds down direful satiety.” The good man is lauded—nay, “it is necessary” ( ) to laud him—because he is a moral 47 example for the city, and it is necessary for the city to preserve such a man in speech, i.e., to mix him in its ﬁne words. occurs twice here, for it is necessary both to laud the brave man and to “bear him up” ( ). “Bearing up” and “mixing” are contrasting images. On the one hand, the man is mixed and made inseparable; on the other hand he is borne up and set apart. This contrast further articulates the poet’s task. While the poet must raise the morally superior man to a sufﬁciently lofty height, he must also assure that the man is spoken of by the townsmen. Only in doing so can the poet properly instruct the masses. Until now we have heard Pindar speak about the best moral qualities of men: bravery, goodness, and vigilance against satiety. All of this is set in contrast to the second half of the strophe, where Pindar introduces the gods. Here, he discusses the way in which “pious living” and “treacherous minds” affect man’s relationship with Zeus. The extremely signiﬁcant9 word here is π , coming from π , which means “follow.” Pindar says that great virtues “come from” Zeus and “follow with” mortals (“mortals” in the dative). Here we must read between the lines. Pindar is neither making a mere causal statement about the beneﬁcence of God and God’s will, nor is he declaring, “God rewards the good and the bad, the just and the unjust.” Rather, he is saying: Great virtues neither meet mortals face to face and lead them, nor overwhelm and transﬁgure mortals into virtuous men; they follow with mortals. Does “following” here mean following behind? This would 48 imply that Zeus’s virtues follow unperceived by mortals. Virtues from Zeus cause men to look over their shoulders in suspicion—and ignore what is ahead. Men are not forward-looking when they are hoping, or waiting, for Zeus’s virtues to appear. Pindar further indicates mankind’s shaky relationship with Zeus when he speaks about (“blessedness”) in line 6. Blessedness “lives longer ( ) in pious living,” he writes. But this temporary quality comes to virtuous and “treacherous minds” alike. It is tempting to see the same morally superior man in each half of the strophe, so that the man who keeps down direful satiety is also the blessed man. But it is not so clear-cut. Pindar says that the man who keeps down satiety is “worthy of ﬁne words,” which means that he is morally superior to the satiated man, but Pindar does not indicate a connection between that moral superiority and blessedness. We might even say that the moral superiority of the man who keeps down satiety is at odds with blessedness. Only the former is said to be worthy of ﬁne words; nothing of that sort is said about the blessed man. Regarding blessedness we must let Pindar’s imagery guide us. Recall how Zeus’s great virtues “follow with” mortals. Even if this means that great virtues follow “in the company” of mortals, Pindar’s meaning is clear: virtues from the gods do not lead mortals or craft their actions. Man’s pedagogical relationship with the gods is entirely unreliable. As Richard Sewell says in The Vision of Tragedy, “Though some gods be- 49 haved better than others toward men, the Greeks expected perfect justice from none of them.”10 The gods will not provide man with a clear moral teaching, so the man who expects to win contests or gather wealth by being pious has deluded himself. The poets, though, because they laud the good man, are much more reliable moral teachers—if the poet can properly understood. Pindar’s morality is concerned with the management of satiety. We understand from the start of the ode that the worthy man is mixed in the words of his townsmen, that he is well-known in his city. The antistrophe tells us that it is necessary for him to be well-known in his city, i.e., that the good man must necessarily enter into the domain of political things and become an example. This happens through the poet, whose task is eulogize. According to Pindar, the poet is concerned with moral and political things insofar as the poet determines who, and therefore what, is good for the city. Concerning moral and political things, the poet is in contradistinction to the gods. The gods bestow great virtues in the form of blessedness upon both good and bad men. Blessedness is as ﬂighty as the whims of the gods: it lives and dies with the mortals themselves. Blessedness does not preserve the excellence of the worthy man; blessedness does not mix his name in the ﬁne words of the city; blessedness does not make him immortal. The worthy man is made good in the eyes of his city by the poet. The most important quality of the good man is his ability to keep down direful satiety. 50 When Pindar begins his teaching, he has a type of man in mind: that man is either wealthy or fortunate in contests, which implies that he is already established in some capacity. The test of his moral substance is whether or not he can keep what is already his own, whether or not he can remain established. This is why, in his praise of Melissos, Pindar regards both the worth of the individual athlete and the athlete’s venerable family. The victorious Melissos is proof of his family’s aristocratic right. He is the living embodiment of his family’s ability to hold down satiety. Here we understand the forces that are truly at play in the struggle between satiety and power. Satiety is decay, the timeless force that threatens to destroy what is established. Ancient power is the best power (indeed, aristo-cratic), because it has managed to defy the timeless force of decay, because it has held down direful satiety for the longest time. The moral principle at work here is this: All ancient things are deﬁant inasmuch as they resist timeless decay. Good, brave, virtuous men are no exception, and it is therefore all the more remarkable and morally commendable when an established family produces a virtuous man, since such a virtuous man assures the preservation of his family’s aristocratic right. Thus at the beginning of the epode: “But the congenital virtue of man he disgraces not” ( ). This virtue opposes the virtues of Zeus discussed in line 5. Congenital virtues ( ) are inborn, natural, innate. They are virtues that are held in aristocratic blood, in . They are the virtues that 51 have enabled the aristocratic family to preserve its power and thus hold down direful satiety. They are not the ﬂighty, shifty virtues that come from gods and follow with mortals and die with them. The aristocratic virtues are the virtues that are necessarily tested by the forces of satiety and decay. As Dante says: O our poor nobility of blood… Truly thou art A mantle that quickly shrinks, so that if we do not Add to it day by day time goes round it with the Shears.11 Good blood on its own cannot resist the tide of decay or, in Pindar’s language, the “rolling-over” of days. Goodness is required for the preservation of good blood. Thus those who triumph over the tide of decay and remain unwounded in the rolling-over of days are “children of God,” inheritors of immortal blood. They themselves are not gods, nor are they necessarily blessed, but their congenital virtue is immortal insofar as it is sustained generation after generation. Achilles and Aeneas are both inheritors of immortal blood, and while Achilles’s destiny is to die in glory, Aeneas’s is to found a great race. Aeneas’s congenital virtue endures for a thousand years in the form of Rome; he achieves a kind of immortality. When Pindar speaks of the “children of god,” he is pointing to the cross-generational preservation of virtue. 52 Preservation of virtue across generations is the closest man can come to divinity. Pindar’s praise of Melissos is a particular instance of the moral principle that poets determine what is good. Praise is a sign of victory, which of course requires glorious contests. Yet if poetry is to be written and the moral good cultivated, victors cannot remain permanently locked in contests. Praise and poetry occur after the contest, when the victor dons his laurel crown and assumes his lofty place among the worthy and glorious. The poet, in turn, cannot ascend to his even loftier height until the victor has secured victory for himself. Peace and pride allow poetry to ﬂourish. Toil and rest are both necessary for a city to become moral; they must be mixed properly in order for poetry to be cultivated and good morals to ﬂourish. This is why Pindar’s comparison between the rolling wheels of the chariot and “days rolling-over” is so apt. Melissos’s Isthmian victory in the four-horse chariot race is a metaphor for the long and arduous victory that his aristocratic family has won in the ancient contest between power and satiation. As a man worthy of praise, he has successfully negotiated the constant, cyclical alternation between toil and rest. By lauding Melissos’s victory, Pindar is making an historical event poetic; he is mixing Melissos in the ﬁne words of his townsmen—and we are those townsmen. Endnotes Pindar’s “Victory Odes” were commissioned by victorious athletes, and therefore are addressed to 1 53 particular men, whereas the odes of, say, Horace or Keats are not addressed to particular men. How might this have affected the poetic license of Pindar, who was presumably constrained by what his patrons expected? For further reading on Pindar’s form, see: D.S. Carne-Ross. Pindar. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985). Gilbert Norwood. Pindar. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1945). In the Republic, Plato uses the same verb to describe one political party’s “holding down” another (360b, 552e, 554c). 2 π : “…for surfeit of gloomy lamentations comes quickly…” [Homer, The Odyssey of Homer, trans. Richmond Lattimore. (New York: Harper & Row, 2007), 4.103.] 3 Plutarch, Lives, trans. John Dryden (New York: Modern Library, 2001), 1:291-321 4 , π . “…the proud heralds…in a great wine bowl mixed the wine…” [Homer, The Iliad, trans. Richmond Lattimore (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951), 3.269-270.] 5 Compare Aristotle’s use of “universal” with Strauss’ use of the same word in the passage innote 7 below. [cf. Aristotle’s Poetics, (1451b6-10)] 6 54 Consider Strauss: “Both Plato’s dialogues and Thucydides’ history have something most important in common: both present the universal truth in inseparable connection with the particulars. The part played in Thucydides by the Peloponnesian war was played in Plato by Socrates. Thucydides starts from the experience of the biggest unrest; Plato starts from the experience of the serene citizen philosopher.” From Leo Strauss, “Thucydides: The Meaning of Political History,” The Rebirth of Classical Political Rationalism, ed. Thomas L. Pangle (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989), 97. 7 Strauss again: “Not Periclean Athens but the understanding which is made possible on the basis of Periclean Athens is the peak. Not Periclean Athens but the work of Thucydides is the peak. Thucydides redeems Periclean Athens. And only by redeeming it does he preserve it ’forever.’ As little as there would be an Achilles or an Odysseus for us without Homer, as little would there be a Pericles for us without Thucydides: the everlasting glory for which Pericles longed is achieved not by Pericles but by Thucydides.” From Leo Strauss, The City and Man (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964), 229-230. 9 And often poorly translated: Race renders it “comes to”; Lattimore chooses “descends upon.” Pindar, Nemean Odes, Isthmian Odes, Fragments, Vol. 2, trans. William H. Race. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997). Pindar, The Odes of Pindar, trans. Richmond 8 55 Lattimore. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), 1947. 10 Richard B. Sewall, The Vision of Tragedy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959), 26. Dante Alighieri, Paradiso, trans. John D. Sinclair (New York: Oxford University Press, 1939), 3: 229. 11 56 Emerging from the Cave / Elizabeth Janthey 57 Why I Go to St. John’s Shayna Jenkins To tell you why I go to St. John’s I must ﬁrst explain my paranoia. I have this fear, constantly lurking inside me, that I cannot think. I have this fear that the words I string into sentences are simply meaningless ramblings—the empty thoughts from empty feelings of an 18-yearold trapped in the vanities of youth. I think this is probably true. I should mention another persistent fear: that I am nothing. It is inescapable. Because what do I have to show for who I am besides some mediocre artistic talent and a lot of unﬁnished tasks, thoughts, pursuits? I am a fearful person. My worries for myself and for the world, for family and friends and relationships—they control my thoughts. To deal with them I obsess over learning the perfect braid or the ideal way to do cat-eye eyeliner. Still, despite all of this, I chose St. John's College, where the superﬁcialities of human nature only come out late at night, when the large cheese pizza is gone. Don't get me wrong. St. John’s is like most other colleges in America, where the residents’ lives are regularly consumed with the pursuit of easy pleasures. But in the leftover time, when students at other places are gazing lifelessly at computer screens, St. John’s students are off searching for something. It's hard to identify the object of that search, because it 58 seems to ﬂuctuate so wildly, vacillating between the worldly (but perhaps gluttonous) pursuit of Truth and Virtue, all the way to the respectable (but disgustingly practical) search for a comprehensive education. It can’t be pinned down. It’s as hard to capture as a butterﬂy in the wind. Which leaves me with that ﬁrst question: Why St. John’s? Because however much happiness it has brought me, never before have I felt such a powerful urge to see it all end in a strong Lunesta cocktail and a long, long sleep. My name is Shayna Morell Jenkins. I am 18. I'm from Litchﬁeld, Connecticut. My favorite book is Looking for Alaska. I can't cook, and I also can't clean. I can draw portraits that kind of resemble people, and I can almost kind of keep a beat to a Rihanna song if the music is loud enough and the hour is late enough. Am I qualiﬁed to be a Johnnie? Because I remember from my pre-application visit that everyone at St. John's looked like they shopped at Goodwill but somehow managed to ﬁnd the one cute shirt lying under all the XXXL tees that could pass for scrubs. But here I am, in my sophomore year, still shopping in the American Eagle clearance, listening to the same bad music I always have, reading the same trashy magazines. But this year I am a Johnnie, whereas just a moment ago I was Shayna Morell Jenkins, the 17year-old who listened to bad music and wore Baby Phat perfume. So I'm beginning to think I'm a Johnnie (maybe) not because of my age or my irresponsible clothing choices, but because of something more, something less tangible than the 59 polyester shirt in the clearance bin. Something changed from where I was to where I ﬁnd myself now. And I'm beginning to think that it’s because I'm pursuing something, searching for something both in myself and in the world. Last year I was searching for a good time and for a way to think, because I gave up thinking. I gave it up because I realized that when I thought about myself and the world and the interaction between the two, a feeling of purposeless and emptiness began to eat me from the inside out (alas, this didn't help me lose any weight). And I wanted to think again, because as much as I hated standing in front of that window trying to convince myself that if I did, in fact, end it right then, someone left behind would, in fact, regret me, there was something refreshing in recognizing the reality of my world. It made me feel vibrant in the same way it made me feel dead. But then that dead thing became too powerful, and I retreated into the familiar world of hookups, breakups, and eyeliner, comfortable reminders that I still existed. I had a place within the world, even if my mind could have ﬂoated away at any minute on a moth’s breath. But that’s not really satisfying, is it? I’m searching, sure, but what for? That is the question. But it’s only one of the questions that I hope is driving me towards some sort of an end. Everyone says that when you come to St. John's you don't get answers, you only get more questions, so perhaps when I graduate I'll have more of an idea of what it is I'm looking for, and that will enable 60 me to ask what it is I’m searching for with some optimism about ﬁnding an answer. I don’t know, though. Maybe the end is not quite as important as it seems. Maybe it's just as much about how we get there. There are moments when everything is crystal clear. And it's in those moments that I realize that I'm at St. John’s because I want to prove to myself that I'm alive. Regardless of what I do, or where I go, it always seems to come back to this: How do I know that I'm alive? How can I make myself feel it and know it? I have always gotten so easily caught up in the world around me: relationships and friends, clothes and future; shiny things, shinier things. But they don’t fulﬁll. They don’t pulse with the rage and motion of the world I ﬁnd when I look away from their hypnosis and really see. So I guess I could say that I go to St. John’s because I want to know that I'm alive. And since my life—living—hasn’t shown me this, I want to understand what makes up living and a life, so that I can prove to myself every day that I'm alive, and that somewhere, behind my straightened hair and the racks of season-appropriate fashion, is a person and a heart vigorously beating with a primal humanity. St. John’s is not the school for everyone. And I'm not going to lie and say that I've never thought about leaving. But in all honesty, if I left right now, what would I have to show for who I am besides some half-cooked notions about why it is I lose all connection to the world when the music starts, and some skills with a curling iron? 61 red-tailed hawk / Caleb Bernard 62 Lavinia Ozdemir Asaf Sana gitme demeyecegim. Üsüyorsun ceketimi al. Günün en güzel saatleri bunlar. Yanimda kal. Sana gitme demeyecegim. Gene de sen bilirsin. Yalanlar istiyorsun yalanlar söyleyeyim, Incinirsin. Sana gitme demeyecegim, Ama gitme, Lavinia. Adini gizleyecegim Sen de bilme, Lavinia. 63 Lavinia translated by Gürer Gündöndü I will not say “Stay!” to you. You are cold, take my jacket. These are the most beautiful hours of the day. Stay with me. I will not say “Stay!” to you. But, however you wish. If you want lies, I would tell lies. You would get hurt. I will not say “Stay!” to you, But don’t go, Lavinia. I will hide your name, Nor you shall know, Lavinia. 64 A Poem Robert Schuerman To capture all the characters I’ve met, And roll them up into one epic verse Would be an easy task...to ask a god, But since I’m but a character myself, About as good at reading folks: as prose Which folks believe, without their looking in To what it is that truly comes to ask, For something as elusive as a fact And so, perhaps, to penetrate a thought Might ﬁnd it too contains what’s not so strange To one who’s come to see, what can be known, A knowing thing is not the thing it knows, And so connotes of something more than prose, In a life whose character now becomes...a poem. 65 Think / Peggy Bair