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Death of a philosopher

They counseled on the importance of reason
the need to be aware of the fatal possibilities
particularly pertinent to lives spent inciting dissent

Socrates was inclined to ask questions
men did not want to answer, in his words he was
as a gadfly to the thoroughbred of Athens

and when his followers gave way to grief by
his deathbed with the cup held aloft, he mocked them
‘What a way to behave, my strange friends!’

Three hundred years later Seneca cautioned against hope
the loss thereof being so disturbing to peace of mind
Perhaps it was this that sustained him through three attempts to die

‘What is not trouble when it arrives is an idle worry in anticipation’ said the pleasure God Epicurus
but of all of them, he faced no death sentence
and instead starved on a diet of thought, friends and freedom


About writehandedgirl

Sarah is a writer who is passionate about social justice, feminism, politics, and cats. She is a columnist and poet and currently lives in Nelson. You can follow Sarah on Twitter (@_writehanded_) or read more of her writing at


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