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Jim Cummins - Mid West Correspondent

"Cats" [by James Cummins]

Thomas_Stearns_Eliot_by_Lady_Ottoline_Morrell_(1934)
When Eliot wrote his thesis at Harvard,
He said philosophers doing philosophy was “ridiculous”—
That two thousand years of this insanity had gone on
Because they tried to explain existence
From the point-of-view of a platform outside it,
Which didn’t, and couldn’t, exist.  One has only
One's sightlines; and wherever you find yourself,
You're in the middle; and your sightlines
Are better or worse depending on the intelligence
You bring to whatever it is you’re looking at.
Avuncular language-riddles infuriated him,
And he made his disgust quite clear in his thesis.
Harvard offered him a chair on the basis of these ruminations;
And after he said no, Bertrand Russell screwed his wife.

From Recalcitrant Actors by James Cummins (2021). Published by Dos Madres (www.dosmadres.com). T. S. Eliot is pictured above. 


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I left it
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from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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