She sits quietly across the pond in Monet’s Garden atrium, straight back posture on a bench without a back. She is plain in a visual sense, except for the red streaks in her auburn hair. She is dressed in a white cotton dress. As I approach, I hear her repeating a verse out loud to herself.
Yesterday is History,’Tis so far away –
Yesterday is Poetry –
‘Tis Philosophy –
Yesterday is mystery –
Where it is Today
While we shrewdly speculate
Flutter both away
“Excuse me Emily. I hope I am not interrupting, but your note said it was important for us to talk before the evening gathering.”
”O’ Socrates. Forgive me. I was just reciting a poem out loud. Thank you for joining me on such a short notice.”
”I am here to serve Emily. How may I help?”
“I am worried about the gathering this evening. It will be the first since my arrival. I am such a loner. I spend much of my time in solitude. I rarely leave my room. I prefer the company of others through correspondence more than face to face contact.”
”I understand Emily. Attendance is voluntary. Nothing is mandatory here at the Inn. “
”I know. It is just that, I want to attend. That is what surprises me. I have been so private most of my life except for my mother and Lavinia. It is a bit overwhelming. People and conversation drain me so I do not understand this pull of energy to attend.”
”I understand your reservations Emily. I am also a loner who prefers my own company to that of others and yet I am also the Gatekeeper here which requires me to interact with our guests. We have little if any control over the forces of our existence. I have learned to trust my instincts over my thoughts.”
”Thank you Socrates. I feel better now. Once again I look forward to the gathering this evening.”
”It is my pleasure always, Emily. But now I have a question for you. The verse you were reciting when I arrived. Do you believe poetry and philosophy are intertwined? I am a philosopher by discipline but I think of myself as more of a poet by nature. Do you see yourself as a philosopher as well as a poet?”
”I am a poet, but all poets are philosophers, Socrates. Simply put, only the vehicle of delivery is different. Poetry is philosophy in its essence, reduced to the conclusions of the dialogue. Philosophy is the dialogue. It comes from the mind. Poetry comes from the heart. Yes, they are connected. They are not very different in their intent. They both want us to see the situation from a different perspective. For me, philosophy is something I studied at Amherst. Poetry is something I experience through the everyday experience of living. And yet, the philosophy of my life and death are expressed in my poetry. My poetry is my philosophy.”
”Maybe I should consider being more of a poet. Sometimes my dialogues take on a poetic nature.” Just then the chimes ring to announce the gathering for the evening. “This is a topic I would like to discuss more with you at another time, Emily. Perhaps it might be a topic for one of the evening talks?”
”There are many poets and philosophers here. It should be a lively discussion for sure. Socrates, would you be so kind to escort me the the hall. I would be more comfortable in your presence?”
”It would be my pleasure Emily.”
The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Five — Alan Watts will be published on Sunday, August 12, 2018.
Cover Art “Aries” by Emilee Petersmark.