For Iris Murdoch

‘All art is a struggle to be,
in a particular sort of way, virtuous.’
she’s talking with that awful haircut
only ameliorated by a shy smile
thoughts arrive in her head
like a bull she charges at them
a philosophy tutor at Oxford
always ready to make an argument

It’s wonderful to see her so I know
we are very different in that way
thoughts arrive in my mind
blossoming into interconnecting maps
wild tendrils of expanding ideas,
my motivation is creative imagination

She’s dissecting myriad ways
that art and philosophy diverge:
mystification versus clarification
claiming art’s deep purpose is to impose form;
turn life’s rubble into something admirable
bolstering our shaky foundations

Philosophy is repetitive
a critical analysis of presuppositions,
an unnatural game
conceptual structure and significance
argument not self-expression
forceful, persuasive, analytic, and clear

Art, being mimetic, is natural,
everyone loves to be told a story
the use of creativity helps it be,
in a special way, true
mystic underpinning of mundane experience
intimate, sculpting, suggestive, and provoking

Fantasy’s a destructive menace,
suffocating intimacy with the reader
philosophy may damage art too,
obscuring sublimity and beauty
and so we come to understand:
to create great art
we leave room for imaginative space

A wilderness where psychology intersects story,
myth infringes on structure,
where the entirety of existence
skims the border of the embodied and
our being encounters transformation

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