The Old Stoic’s Lethargy

January 6, 2023 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | LIFE, PETER'S WRITING, Poetry, POLITICS | 0 Comments |


(with apologies to W. H. Auden)

This earth in 2023

Is not the planet fit for me,

A world, I need, to give me hope

Opposed to the end of a rope.

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My Eden landscapes and their climes

Are great constructs from rational times,

When reason meant, at least, induction,

Not dogma posed as deduction.

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The plastic bags we gather to be

Transformed as if by alchemy:

I chose to send them whence they came,

The ground, from fossil fuels by name.

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I’m now required to approve

Blighted wind farms that rarely move:

And even less reverence-commanding

Endless seas, useless notwithstanding.

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Ghosts that I thought had been routed,

Their spent ideas revealed and doubted:

Ridiculousness now forgotten,

None knowing all is misbegotten.

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Before the injustice of the blind,

It was important to be kind:

Totalitarian democracy

Lives in the dread realm of the Me.

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“Nineteen Eighty-Four” we knew,

“The Trial,” “Waste Land”, “Animal Farm” too:

I cannot settle which is worse,

The modern novel, or free verse.



When couples played or sang duets,

Unwise the man immersed in debts

Or the nation well beyond its means,

Its souls now reduced to pork and beans.

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Do we venerate, as a joint success

The silencing to which we acquiesce:

Thugs piling-on, and gleefully;

When did we scare so easily?

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Hobgoblins abound; we do abide,

Yet we turn and we run and hide:

In the wake of the mightiest shout

Coming from the silliest lout.

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How this world does clack its tongue,

How listlessly it strikes the young:

How can they hope to ever live free

When blinkered in its history?

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The recent plague has made us fools

And given birth to glaikit rules:

Although it let us seek anew

Amongst our friends, those who proved true.

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An old curmudgeon? I may be,

But remain of the citizenry:

In Stoicism I will base my trust,

And follow Zeno, as needs must.

Zeno of Citium > By Individual Philosopher > Philosophy


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