I once attended a conference on Plato's Timaeus called "One Book, the Whole Universe: Plato's Timaeus Today." Those who have read the Timaeus can appreciate how this one book could contain the whole universe. After returning from the conference, I was inspired to write some poems based on sections of the dialogue. I present the first of the poems here, and I would be happy to hear what you think of it and whether you have written poetry in response to something you've read. For those who have not read the Timaeus in a while, this poem might make more sense if you read the passage to the Timaeus referenced in the title.

Timaeus 20c-26e

Truth is strange, not just stranger than fiction,

But a good story is a goodly store

Of truth when heard from a friend of a friend.

A good story—beginning, middle, end—

Makes philosophers kings, but no rhetor

Here looks so good and speaks with a diction

Sufficient to get around the truth of

The matter: Only in the olden days

Were men so good with laws to make stories

Out of them. One of Numenor’s glories,

So the myth goes, taught that he who obeys

Pleases the gods and those whom the gods love.


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