Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Errant Epistemology

I esteem episteme, which is the common Greek for knowledge.
I must have heard it, sure enough, when I attended college.
But another problem rises when I encounter and behold
Epistemology—a word I’ve met with times untold
While stirring arcane pools of mud with my rather shortish stick.

It sounds like water dripping over gravel on the double-quick,
An admirable sound it is, but yet I do tend to forget
The meaning of this Greekish modern manufactured sobriquet.
It dates to 1865, coined by a Scot philosopher,
Fond of strange Friedrich Hegel he, by name James Ferrier.

So here’s a word amalgamated from broken bits and shards
Not some gem discovered in the works of dead Hellenic bards.
In English it means “theory of knowledge” pure and simple
Instead I garble up the letters of its starting, stylish dimple
And mistake it for a variant of Etymology.

Not so. It is my bad. Alas our wisdom bristles with -logies.
What does that ending mean? It means “discourse,” blah, blah, mere learned talk.
It is the sounds that issue as the learned hold forth on their walk
About. It occurred that if I wrote my own -logy I might remember
The sense of epistemology when it comes around—the next December.

But do not bet on it.


  1. Rather enjoyed making this, Brandon. The poem's report on my own reactions is also only too true...

  2. I would like anth-ologies of the poems by Arsen and Brandon, my favorite contemporary poets. Such collections would make terrific Christmas gifts!


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