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Reflecting Thought

  There is often little time for reflection though the hours never cease to pile up.  Much is thought of, many things are remembered, but little is reflected upon.  There is a difference between thinking and reflecting; one of them presents a plan or an image, which is transformed according to feeling, or exterior phenomena that seeks an end, or a means to an end; the other is the transformation of thought without end, it simply looks, it watches the worry come and go, plans arise and finish.  When you step back from a wall, you can see how high it is, but when you are very close, you must grasp onto something because there is no way to see where you are.  So reflecting is a way to stand back and see how far the thought goes, while thinking holds to the thought as long as it wants.  Reflection shows that thoughts do not control you, while thinking always seeks a thought to control. Douglas Thornton

A Poet's Journal: October 11th, 2012 (With Audio)

October 11th, 2012 A large group of cranes pass over.    There is something so bland in life that we become subverse to the very details that make it up; and yet, brought to our attention, those details are of no special concern, though they have created our interest in the first place.  When we ask someone to stand out, we are not asking of anything genuine or long-standing, but merely a blind antagonist to draw us in to an ever greater competition of self-worth.  But how foolish!  For he who is willing to combat his fellow-man proves he is not on even terms with him and has not attained the superiority of triumph in his own mind.  Instead of the ideas of excellence that another puts forth, should he find the terms for his own conviction.  But if there is a sage of dire consequence, he has folded up his robe, for among the vast infinitude of prophecy there are but one or two decisions to be made.  Perhaps we could still hear his echo if it were not that he too has become so

A Poet's Journal: October 3rd, 2012 (Audio)

October 3rd, 2012 That which is unique seems all the more to make what is around us less so that we forget the whole circumstance leans solely on the force of our own interpretation. While having dinner last night, just at the moment that I happened to look up, a greenish-blue ball of light fled across the tiny part of sky that our window encloses; but from that moment, until I spoke of the object only a few seconds later, did a confidence steadily grow in my disparaged and up until then unsure attempts in writing that everything thought childish in my life up to that instant became truth and whatever I would do from here on would not lead me astray whether I doubted or not.  It was a coincidence that touched something I had hardly ever seen; it was not a revelation, nor did I think some divine presence involved in it, but it was the circumstance that bade the whole realm of possibility, the whole realm of existence, mutual to my own poor and daily life.  Superiority and the hi

A Poet's Journal: October 2nd, 2012 (Audio)

October 2nd, 2012 What is it that we conceal when we look towards ideal moments? What appears to us comes as part of a world that we can only vaguely conceive, but one in which we imagine a whole set of circumstances, accomplishing this or that with greater or lesser conviction until we arrive at some culminating point where perfection is grasped for just a moment. And yet we know that if something perfect must exist it is only because imperfection exists and the whole way unto the ideal is a series of sufferings. But we must not consider through all our pains there will bloom within us an everlasting peace; for just as a door and four walls may lead us to expect shelter, the rain may still come in. When it happens though, when we find entrance into a warm and inviting home, the essence of that ideal is always hard to grasp and we despair over the contrast of perception and imagination only to turn upon that thing that was always concealed within us and within the event. It is st

A Poet's Journal: September 29th, 2012 (Free Audio Reading)

September 29th, 2012 To be heroic in this world, one must be prepared to ask, 'What if?'  And the answer that he shall always receive will be, 'Either...  Or.....'  However, I do not mean this to sound as if one must take his lessons directly from the philosopher's mouth; I rather mean that his decision should not escape him in that vital moment.  Nor should this be taken all the way to the extreme of single-mindedness, lest the mountain feel its own avalanche and not stand firm enough against it.  Thus, the inheritance of our whole future comes with a sign over it that says: know thyself.  But the currency of this expression is no longer the reason for which we rise from bed, so that our curiosity has given up on the abstract, and that only where we see the light will we let ourselves be guided.  What was for us once a question is now an answer wherefrom we move away and cry out in longing, 'What if?' Douglas Thornton

A New Translation of Catullus!

Here is a new translation of Catullus: please scroll down to read or visit the Society of Classical Poets by clicking on the following link:  A Translation of Catullus’s ‘Ad Sirmium Insulam’ by Douglas Thornton The important events in the life of Gaius Valerius Catullus (84-54 B.C.) are recounted through the poems he has left.  The particular poem below was written on his return from Asia Minor, where he had attempted at a public career by following Memmius, the patron of the poet Lucretius, into the province of Bithynia.  But his hopes being dashed, he took refuge after the long journey at his home in the present-day village of Sirmione, in northern Italy, on Lake Garda. Ad Sirmium Insulam Of the islands which in stagnant Waters and vast seas Neptune holds, Sirmio--the pearl of islands!-- Now my heart with you rejoices Safe and sound, still scarce believing Thynia and Bithynian Fields have gone.  What more fortunate Care, after so many struggles, When the mind shrug