by Eric Luft

I want to live forever, only just
On my own terms. I want my health, my fists,
My wits, my perfect youthful life, robust.

Pretentious jaded existentialists
Think they’ve done all there is to do. They’re bored!
They welcome death as freedom from life’s twists.

They’ve never wished they could enough time hoard
To read each book they’d ever seen. They’re blind!
But we Socratic heirs are never bored,

Because our minds can always make or find
New things to do. We read, sing, reason why,
Have endless fun. As long as to my mind

Are thoughts unthought; as long as to my eye
Are books unread, I do not want to die.

Comment: This poem may seem to be about megalomania or hubris, but it is really about the love of reading, and about how retreating into books can make you happy, great, and inspired, while immersing yourself in the world’s phenomena would make you miserable, small, and moribund.

Bio: Eric Luft, after a lifetime of teaching philosophy and curating rare books, has become “gainfully unemployed.” He is listed in Who’s Who in America.

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