PHILOSOPHERS (3) NIETZSCHE:
Twilight of the gods;
philosophising with a hammer,
“6,000 feet beyond man and time”.
Thunder and lightning,
blonde beasts unleashed,
storm troopers, war crimes. . .
Whenever I look at photos of Nietzsche,
these alarming images fill the air.
A whiff of cordite, a sense of danger;
I feel I should cry “Beware! Beware!
The grotesque moustache, the maniacal glare!”
But these wild fancies only mislead;
best to banish them, best just to read.
The photos distract from what he wrote;
his writings are the true antidote.
Perceptive analysis, much good sense;
even the travestied “Ubermensch”.
But I still recoil, feel abhorrence,
for that strange conception “Eternal Recurrence”.
His aphorisms perplex, delight, confound;
at times ludicrous, at times profound.
Read him! Enjoy his zest, his vigour.
But don’t expect logic, coherence, or rigour.
I was pondering upon which philosopher to write about next, in my ongoing series of poems on philosophers, when I came across a couple of photographs of Friedrich Nietzsche. The famous lines from Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan” sprang to mind: “. . . Beware! Beware!/His flashing eyes, his floating hair. . . ” I knew, immediately, that I could modify the lines and use them in a poem about Nietzsche. I realized it would be impossible to discuss any of Nietzsche’s philosophical ideas, in a brief poem, so all I’ve tried to do is to convey a vivid sense of the feelings and images I experience when reading Nietzsche.