1725 - Chanson Philosophique

The nominalist in me invents
A life devoid of precedents.
The realist takes a different view:
He claims that all I feel and do
Billions of others felt and did
In history’s Pre-me period.

Arguing thus, both voices speak
A partial truth. I am unique,
Yet the unceasing self-distress
Of desire buffets me no less
Than it has other sons of man
Who’ve come and gone since time began.

The meaning, then, of this dispute?
My life’s a nominal/real pursuit,
Which leaves identity clear and blurred,
In which what happens has occurred
Often and never—which is to say,
Never to me, or quite this way.

(Timothy Steele)


© José Pacheco Pereira
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