Monday, December 01, 2008

Descartes' Loneliness by Allen Grossman

(Meditation Three)

Toward evening, the natural light becomes
Intelligent and answers, without demur:
“Be assured! You are not alone. . . .”
But in fact, toward evening, I am not
Convinced there is any other except myself
To whom existence necessarily pertains.
I also interrogate myself to discover
Whether I myself possess any power
By which I can bring it about that I,
Who now am, shall exist another moment.

Because I am mostly a thinking thing
And because this precise question is
Only from that thoughtful part of myself,
If such a power did reside within me
I should, I am sure, be conscious of it. . . .
But I am conscious of no such power.
And yet, if I myself cannot be
The cause of that assurance, surely
It is necessary to conclude that
I am not alone in the world. There is

some other who is the cause of that idea.
But if, at last, no such other can be
found toward evening, do I really have
sufficient assurance of the existence
or of any other being at all? For,
after a most careful search, I have been
unable to discover the ground of that
conviction – unless it be imagined a lonely
workman on a dizzy scaffold unfolds
a sign at evening and puts his mark to it.



Nuke said...

Wow... I like to think of myself as fairly bright, but stuff like that makes me think maybe I am deluding myself. Not that I don't understand the meaning but that i could never put it in words that way.

Thanks for sharing!

Absolutely Feisty said...

This must be.. the best poetry I've read all year. Which means I must get my hind end to a book store soon.

Good choice on the post!