Saturday, December 10, 2011


Empedocles, dear friends, is sick:
Sick of the long fever.

A catch of sulfur in his lungs
And he struggles, retching, to Etna's lip,
On a day when the fires are hot, and
His own elements at war, he comes to look
With longing at the love
Of fire for rock, of rock for fire.

Empedocles, dear friends, is sick:
Sick of the long fever.

Four elements, four only, it's very simple.
And between them only two passions:
Love and strife. See how the dandelion
Loves the earth, and how his seed
Strives to leave it: nothing else is needed
To explain the motion of our souls.

Empedocles, dear friends, is sick:
Sick of the long fever.


Zhoen said...

Solid, liquid, gas, plasma. He could hardly be blamed for not guessing about Bose–Einstein condensate.

Bill said...

Hm. No indifferent cooling? No years of estrangement?

I've been to Agrigento (Empedocles' home town), briefly, as a kid, but I can't quite remember it.

This really does sound like the latest things I've learned about earth science, that the mantle of the earth is cell, animated my the antagonism of hot spots and cold, and water that is the necessary ingredient to phase solid into liquid and ease the continents to mount subducting plates. Air, I dunno.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this, Dale. A re-acquaintance with Empedocles for me. I made reference to him when using his four elements as stimuli for improvisation work in Drama classes.

marly youmans said...

Hmm, would be interesting to know how the four gave birth to improv work...

Like the way you are using refrain here.

Sort of wish you had included a bit about him as magician! Weather-mage...

Got a package from the Royal Mail today. And it looks good.

Dale said...

Bless you, Marly! I hope you like it!

marly youmans said...

Sure I will! Now that the children have been fetched, I might slip in a bit of reading...