At the Gate of Death

Choose a poem that finds you, as Coleridge says, and read it deeply and often, out loud to yourself and to others. Internalizing the poems of Shakespeare, Milton, Whitman will teach you to think more comprehensively than Plato can. We cannot all become philosophers, but we can follow the poets in their ancient quarrel with philosophy, which may be a way of life but whose study is death. I do not think that poetry offers a way of life (except for a handful like Shelley or Hart Crane); it is too large, too Homeric for that. At the gate of death, I have recited poems to myself, but not searched for an interlocutor to engage in dialectic.