Tag Archives: simplicity

A Simple Rule: tercet

There is for life a very simple rule:
stand up when you must stand, and then lay down;
the grave awaits the king, wise man, and fool.

06 JUN 2017

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Simple Ways: pantoum

Some say that simple ways are still the best;
as we add complication, things decline.
How we live puts that principle to test:
it’s so subjective, what one thinks is fine.

So, adding complication wreaks decline?
Stop making babies; that’s simple enough.
It’s so subjective, what one thinks is fine;
applying principles yourself – that’s tough.

Stop making babies; but that’s not enough.
End all this mad charade of cheating death.
Applying principles yourself is tough;
it’s work that needs more effort than just breath.

End all this mad charade of cheating death!
The purpose of this life is growing old.
it’s work that needs more effort than just breath;
those simple ways, if possible, are best.

11 APR 2017

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My idol was once Eliot:
I sought out stranger words
to seem more erudite and suave,
and introduced philosophies
through quotes in native tongues;
with long, ecstatic footnotes
in expository text
I piled up paraphrases,
odd translations and asides.

The simpler the subject,
the more complex grew the form,
until it took a thousand lines
of interlocking code
to show not tell in tortured verse
what could be said
in just three words.

08 FEB 2017

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P.S., T.S.

My idol was once Eliot:
I sought out stranger words
that seemed so erudite and suave.
I leaked philosophy
through lengthy quotes in native tongues;
with long, ecstatic notes
I piled up paraphrases,
odd translations and asides.

The simpler the subject,
the more complex the form required,
until it took a thousand lines
of interlocking verse
to demonstrate with certainty
a great command of thought;
to fill a bookshelf with such tomes
became life’s sole desire.

My readers, those who stayed the course,
at length just were bemused;
they thought themselves, like me, elite,
and with great dragon hoards
stored up minutiae by the pound
in some great thought Bastille,
imagining the world outside
looked up at us in awe.

And then one day, a prison break:
when that grand intellect
seemed no more than some prison slang
used to intimidate
and beat into submission
lesser minds and weaker souls,
who never heard of Eliot
nor cared what they had missed.

Epiphany! Enlightenment!
In freedom from the phrase,
unloosed from literary chains
and jumbled metaphor,
I found a simpler way to write
beyond mere show not tell,
past all that posturing and such:
just speak your mind, and quit.

27 APR 2013

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Back to the basics

Back to the basics: down that trail
bringing us from the ocean’s foam
where we shared space with fish and snail;
back past Europe, far beyond Rome,
before we started keeping track
or had the means to tally score.
If we would find the things we lack
we must devolve, then dig some more
distaining drills and modern tools,
pickaxes, shovels and backhoes;
tricks learned in engineering schools,
and physics, too; they must all go.

Bring nothing with you, pen nor phone
will serve you here in this dead zone;
no trail guides, blueprints, wires or cups —
to walk this path, you must give up
all semblance to your modern self;
and all those volumes on your shelves:
pretend that they were never writ,
that all you know, the breadth of it,
spans just as far as your two arms
and runs the width of a small farm.

Back to the basics: eat and sleep,
hunt and be hunted, kill or die.
Turn back from hills that are too steep,
from rivers too deep or too wide.
Back to the basics: no free time,
no Broadway shows, no top shelf wines;
the Devil’s in such modern stuff,
so give it back, and say, “Enough!”

Forget how far the human race
has come; at least, in any case,
deny yourself the benefit
of what you did not work to get
and take for granted your whole life:
to slice that bread, you’ll need a knife.

03 JUN 2005

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Simplicity: an englyn cyrch

Simple things make me content:
knowing where my money’s spent,
poems written, letters sent,
feeling good the rent’s been paid,
evenings without things to do,
working ’til the work is through,
reading a good book or two
‘neath a tree’s new morning shade.

Children play along the walk,
neighbors come to sit and talk,
flowers bloom along the block:
roses, phlox and marigolds.
No advantage to be sought,
Only groceries to be bought;
Smiling at the others, caught
where I too once was so bold.

Day turns into night again,
phone calls come from kin and friends;
happiness for me, depends
on how I spend such days.
Simple, yes, but never stale,
these nothings make grand things pale:
seasons changing without fail,
the thin veil of nature’s ways.

Offered more, I would refuse;
Lest by chance, this life I’d lose.
Let it humor or amuse
society – I don’t mind.
I will walk by my own path;
that shall be my epitaph;
Let those who’ll grieve on my behalf
keep laughter and I entwined.

Simple things, like life and mirth.
These are treasures of great worth,
pleasures of our time on earth
that nurse our souls to health.
Money, fame and power, too –
all will fade when life is through;
what remains, and stays as true
defines what you have as wealth.

14 APR 2004

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Footnotes to Occam’s Razor and the Heart Sutra

I made reference to the principle of Occam’s razor in a post the other day. Here is some additional information on that principle:

Occam’s razor is a logical principle attributed to the mediaeval philosopher William of Occam (or Ockham). The principle states that one should not make more assumptions than the minimum needed. This principle is often called the principle of parsimony. It underlies all scientific modelling and theory building. It admonishes us to choose from a set of otherwise equivalent models of a given phenomenon the simplest one. In any given model, Occam’s razor helps us to “shave off” those concepts, variables or constructs that are not really needed to explain the phenomenon. By doing that, developing the model will become much easier, and there is less chance of introducing inconsistencies, ambiguities and redundancies. Though the principle may seem rather trivial, it is essential for model building because of what is known as the “underdetermination of theories by data”. For a given set of observations or data, there is always an infinite number of possible models explaining those same data. This is because a model normally represents an infinite number of possible cases, of which the observed cases are only a finite subset. The non-observed cases are inferred by postulating general rules covering both actual and potential observations.

Much more to be found at: Occam’s Razor

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