Still listening to Essential American Poets put out by The Poetry Foundation. I just listened to the latest episode on Charles Simic. He ends the episode by reciting his “The Friends of Heraclitus“. It is about the loss of beloved friend and companion with whom the referenced subject has had many philosophical discourses, walking around and getting lost, both literally and in thought.
The loss of a partner in dialogue made me think of Plato (and Xenophon), what a true sense of sorrow he must have in losing such a companion in Socrates. The Apology, the starting point for our Partially Examined journey, is itself a poem, an ode to a lost friend.
Simic’s character goes out for a walk playing both roles, himself and the lost companion. His sorrow, however, blurs his philosophical sensibilities
The world we see in our headsAnd the world we see daily,So difficult to tell apartWhen grief and sorrow bow us over.
What was that fragment of HeraclitusYou were trying to rememberAs you stepped on the butcher’s cat?Meantime, you yourself were lostBetween someone’s new black shoeLeft on the sidewalkAnd the sudden terror and exhilarationAt the sight of a girlDressed up for a night of dancingSpeeding by on roller skates.