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Greek philosophy and a poem about semicolons

Whether or not you like my (10-year-old) poetry, you will likely find something you enjoy in this post! That’s because the top half of my page of notes contains timeless quotes about life from Greek philosophers, transcribed here:

“Actions always planned are never completed.” -Democritus
“Old men were once young, but it is uncertain if young men will reach old age.” -Democritus
“The path up and down is one and the same.” -Heraclitus
“Nature likes to hide itself.” -Heraclitus
“The world is change; life is opinion.” -Democritus
“Theraclitus said that a man’s character is his fate.” -Stabeus (?)
“[Parmenides] speaks of perceiving and thinking as the same thing.” -Theophrastus
“All things were together. The mind came and arranged them.” -Anaxagoras
“Worlds are altered rather than destroyed.” -Democritus
“Dark and light, bad and good, are not different, but are one and the same.” -Heraclitus

Whoa, we’re starting to get deep, aren’t we? I have no clue how these quotes tied in with the poem I wrote below them (if at all); nonetheless, here it is, transcription following the image:

Top half: the ideas of great philosophers. Bottom half: my poem about semicolons.

Top half: the ideas of great philosophers. Bottom half: my poem about semicolons.

Transcript:
Poor, deprived semicolon
There isn’t even punctuation in Latin
So then, why, Anaxagoras?
The mind came,
Arranged everything
So then, why?
Punctuation, arranged for granted?
Taken for granted?
Taken at all?
The mind needs a mean
By which it can arrange;
How, then,
Is the semicolon neglected?
Rejected?
Disrespected?
Why, Anaxagoras? Why?
…why?

A few things:

  • Did Anaxagoras invent written language? No[t that I can find using Google]. Does my poem suggest this? Yes. Do I know what to make of this discrepancy? Hell no.
  • For the uninitiated, Anaxagoras was a Greek philosopher best known for having a totally badass name.
  • I took a Latin class my senior year of high school, and that is directly responsible for my use of the phrase “by which,” as we used a LOT of prepositions in that class. As a result, we learned to write by means of many prepositions (see what I did there?).

I used to LOVE writing semicolons in high school and college, but lately I’ve become a huge fan of using colons. Not just to introduce lists, mind you; my use of colons is much more advanced than that. Of course, right now I can’t think of how I could purposely write a sentence to utilize a semicolon, but that just means you’ll have to keep checking my web site for more updates so you can spot ’em when I write them!

—–

This post is part of Cody’s “10-Year Idea Reunion” series, in which Cody revisits his creative writing class assignments exactly 10 years after writing them. Learn more about Cody’s Idea Reunion and follow him on WordPress to follow along!

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About Cody Gough

Cody Gough is a producer and host at WGN Radio in Chicago. In addition to producing the Brian Noonan Show since 2008, Cody co-hosts both Brian's web-exclusive podcasts and his own lifestyle podcast, Game/Life Balance U.S. Cody also moonlights as a commercial actor, video game enthusiast, and professional social media manager for a global firm.

One response to “Greek philosophy and a poem about semicolons”

  1. michaelshepherd460 says :

    Thanks for the entertaining read. Maybe some of your questions could be answered by Visit-Ancient-Greece.com
    Cheers,

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