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The Reluctant Thomist Teaches PHIL 101

Fall 2014 - Vol. 56, No. 4


This poem appears in the Fall 2014 issue of Modern Age. To subscribe now, go here.

. . . on our very hearths and in our gardens
the infernal cat plays with the panting mouse,
or holds the hot bird fluttering in her jaws.
—William James


            Bear’s hot breath on the hiker’s face—
            Shark-slice along the diver’s thigh—
            Bee-barb deep in the baby’s thumb—
            Worm-crawl across the inner eye:

                        was Wordsworth wrong
                        and Darwin right?

            Storm-surge fouling the harborside—
            Long bridges swaying way to stress—
            Dark-tailed twisters abducting herds—
            The Big One roiling up the West:

                        was Leibnitz wrong
                        and Voltaire right?

            Live-In Boyfriend Abuses Child—
            Veiled Girl Trips Bomb in Marketplace—
            Judge Says No to Hydration Tube—
            Clerk Disappears Without a Trace—           

                        was Rousseau wrong
                        and Calvin right?

            Is Evil deprivation of the Good?
            I’d like to think that’s so, if I but could.