The Poetry of Empedocles

Aristotle – Poetics, an extract –
Aristotle’s History of Poetry….As an example. of someone who composes verse but is not a good poet, Aristotle cites the philosopher Empedocles, but we know he had a high regard for the artistic qualities of Empedocles’ verse. Aristotle is not distinguishing poetry from other forms of verse in terms of linguistic artistry, he is concerned solely with the use to which the verse is put. Aristotle believes that human beings have an instinct for rhythm and melody.. The pleasure which they take in rhythm and melody makes it natural that their instinct for imitation should be expressed in the medium of verse and song.
Empedocles and me are very much alike . We have both been to Sicily

Old Friends

There’s a place I know,
where I used to go,
where men talk oot the side o their mooths,
they’ve got rid fizogs,
wear shabby togs,
and talk of bein auld in the tooth.

Many subjects arise,
like things in the sky,
or how they’re all caught in the poverty trap,
then there’s talk of the war,
Big Roger Moore,
and the fact that his acting was crap.

You see they used to be,
good friends to me,
That wis before I seen the light,
so no more Brian Donlevy
or getting heavy,
wi the guys that talk so much shite.

( For the International reader – Brian Donlevy is Glasgow rhyming slang for Bevy, which is a derivative of Beveridge, meaning swally)


The one in two
met somebody who
was the one in three
who used to be
with the one in four
who had been a goer
for the one in five
so as to deprive
the one in six
who went to mix
with the one in seven
who had not forgiven
the one in eight
who had a been a mate
of the one in nine
who after some time
met the one in ten
who became a friend
of the other one

White horsing waters

By the gustier
Smells of seaweed
Amongst scattered
Mini Nevada
But Bravado
Held me
To the
Cold sea
as the bold seal
Peeks sleekly at us
Albatross rises
High Fliers
As well as us


You made in your thirties, Sean,
An so could I.
You once laboured, for your living , Sean,
And, still do I.

You could pick and chose your women, Sean,
And I could try.
You’d wake up to blondes in the morning, Sean,
Just once, have I.

You showed no fear of danger, Sean,
And I did try.
You rarely show your anger, Sean,
But why must I?

I am a man of many secrets, Sean,
Just like Meester Bond,
And have you ever drank the giro Sean?
And been full of fear at dawn.

I spoke of you in the trenches, Sean
But did you speak of me?
I can do you at the parties, Sean,
but have you done me?

I slap her around on a Friday, Sean
Just the way James would do,
Won’t do her any harm, Sean
Who says? You do.

No Access.

In a haven of cheeseburgers
and clown faces,
stomach churns
and the brain races
looking at the wain
who’s changed places
with his Mother.

In a world of CD rom
and computer discs
on credit slips,
smiling at the wain,
with pursed lips,
As I done to his Mother

Cinema tickets for a PG rating
stand in the queue
and patiently waiting
annoyed by the wain
who is overstating
That he is missing his Mother.

Second hand furniture
sparse, in a room
carrier bags,
emptied of booze
Listening to the wain
as he asks of the news,
of what happened to his Mother.

Sunday long lie
Mother’s roused by their kids
Hear them being bawled at
as I grip his wrist
and kissing the child
I know there is something I miss
But its not his Mother

And the barman, put’s the glass
on top of the bar
as the hours fly by
I’m too drunk by far
and I look at the child
that my wain calls Da
And cry for his Mother.

Unwashed Hope

Awakened by the scum of dark
To sleep, please, just to sleep
But hear the cries, as a young man dies
Those flowers,
They cannot save you

Taken by growth of no remorse
The daughters scratch then scratch
And hear the cries when the father dies
That birdsong,
It will not save you

Awaiting for a shaven liar
Will they go or will they not
And hear the sons cry, when the spirit dies
The sobriety,
It did not save you

Create the words that may inspire
Applause is in abundance
Then hear the sighs as I tell my lies
This poetry,
It did not save me


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