- Why I Am Not a Stoic
By now I've seen it all, the weirdtranslucent yellow spider haulingher pale pearl of eggs, or the sporesof the reddish fungus fuming outfrom its half-inch smokestackin the moss, and even the damp shadecommencing with the woods and seeminglike water steadily to flowaway—how these go unattended—an observation so smug and pithyI ought to take it back, but I mean itas a fact, as a starting point, in casea philosophical moment arrives.It would suit me if it didn't, becausea philosophy based on shade or mosswould be difficult to prove. I've madea claim—the appearance of something that seemssingular, but probably isn't,and that an irony observedin what I thought was solitude.But I was never alone in the shade—I had the shade and the moss inside it,and the poof of spores, and the yellow spiderswinging back and forth like a bulbin a room with someone listeningto nothing or a bug flickingagainst the black pane of the window.We have a form inside a forminside a mesmerizing form.I'm itching to say something niceabout it—it's pleasantly slow, and may [End Page 32] appeal to objectivity—but maybe not. Let's let it benight-time now up there in the domeof contemplation, no light, no needto have a light. Let's give it a rest,let's say, Good-night, you little idea. [End Page 33]
Maurice Manning's most recent poetry collections are One Man's Dark and The Gone and the Going Away. A former Guggenheim fellow, Manning has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and is a member of The Fellowship of Southern Writers. He teaches at Transylvania University and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.