The philosopher loves wisdom

the poet beauty. The former

devotes herself to curiosity

the latter to a sense of duty.


But wisdom is beautiful

and beauty makes a soul wise

the best philosophy is poetic

the best poetry wisdom in disguise.

R. Charboneau


Artwork: Nicholas Roerich – The Philosopher. Silence (1940)

12 thoughts on “The Philosopher and The Poet

  1. Another good poem. The second stanza could stand alone as a good poem. One note, Robert: Remember, there is no such thing as a politically correct artist. I think the gender would have been better left unsaid.

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  2. I liked the gendered philosopher! Sophia’s the name, right? And the whole premise of the poem is great – it echoes Plato, with beauty transcending everything. My only question is: if wisdom is beautiful, why is it ignored?

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  3. Maybe I missed something but the first line is, “The philosopher loves wisdom” not the Greek goddess of wisdom loves wisdom. And isn’t Athena a more notable goddess of wisdom than Sophia. And does that mean we are to assume that Apollo is the poet? I think the poem is better without dragging all these Greek mythology references into it. But hey, it’s your poem.

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    1. I think Sophia is the old Greek personification of wisdom, whereas Athena would only have the attribute “wise.” But you’re right, “herself” refers to the philosopher. I suppose that, when considering notions of beauty, my mind went naturally to the feminine, hence the pronoun. I hadn’t given it more thought than that. But I have been rereading Plato’s dialogues. Somehow Gabriela always seems to know what I’m reading based on what I’ve written. I have no idea how she does that.

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  4. My impression was that you were referring to the Philosopher and the Poet as abstract entities (their spirit/raison d’être). Thus, the “herself” insertion could have been an allusion to the etymology of the word “philosophy”. It also adds some cognitive dissonance, making the poem more surprising and memorable, in my view. Ask people to imagine a philosopher, and 10 out of 10 will have thought of a man (myself included). It definitely raised my eyebrow and grabbed my attention.

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      1. Smart! Stay out of it. Write the poem and let people think what they want. I feel the same way about my paintings. We’ve both been on Gabriella’s blog and I do think she has a propensity for reading things into works that may not be there. An allusion to the etymology of philosophy seems a bit of a stretch. I’m aware of the origin of the word, but still??? On the plus side, she does expose a lot of lesser known artists to people.
        I agree on one thing-“herself” grabbed my attention too, but for a different reason. As I hinted before, it struck me as a nod to political correctness, (inclusivity and all that) but your explanation sounded reasonable to me.
        Robert, do me a favor. Drop the first word of the second stanza, “but” and read the second stanza alone. Still think it’s strong on it’s own.


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