“To Teachers Who Hope to Inspire Their Students” (and other poems by Felicia Nimue Ackerman)


The following is a guest post*  of poems  by Felicia Nimue Ackerman, professor of philosophy at Brown University. 

To Teachers Who Hope to Inspire Their Students

I never had a teacher more inspiring than Ms. Burr.
She led me to resolve that I would never be like her.

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To Those Who Think the Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living

Lloyd always acts without thinking.
Reflection is hardly for him.
Lillian’s mind has been shrinking.
Dementia is making her dim.

Both find enjoyment in living. 
So don’t be so ready to scoff. 
Why are you so unforgiving? 
How harsh to be writing them off.

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To Cynthia Ozick** 

Aesthetics and logic,
Injustice and war:
Philosophers ponder
These topics and more.

We needn’t relinquish
This varying focus.
Our field would be meager
With only one locus.

**The novelist and essayist Cynthia Ozick says, “Novelists, poets, philosophers and theologians agree: Mortality, that relentless law of universal carnage, is the sole worthy human preoccupation.”

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In Praise of Campus Culture Wars***

A campus that is truly free
Has denizens who disagree.
There isn’t any culture war
In Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.
 
***A slightly different version of this poem appeared in The Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2018.   

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