When Socrates talks about Memory
And how writing weighs it down,
I’m a little bit hesitant, like Phaedrus,
To concede this point to him—
Writing’s what I’ve always known;
Writing’s what I’ve been tested on;
Writing’s the measure of intellect;
What determines whom we praise.
Or is it, I suddenly concede—
What we think we know?
What we think we are tested on?
What makes us think we’re smart?
What determines who we praise?
Old Socrates never wrote anything down—
For that we can thank young Plato.
Plato with his thousand forms;
Plato with his chimaera diction;
Plato the Death Eater at Athens;
Who begot beauty and 999 false truths.
I really do love Plato, you know.
But so far I haven’t written it down
In quite so many words,
And you might have been confused.
It’s just that
I just can’t figure out what to write,
And what to merely think.
If I write something down it’s final—
A problem Socrates never had.
Oh, Socrates, wisest man in Greece,
Give me guidance in this moment—
Send that daemon as my savior!
I just received a txt
From my little sister Lucy;
It reads: wut’s Mimi’s #?
A few quick commands on the keypad,
And I’ve found Mimi’s Contact Card—
Just pushed ‘share,’ and we’re all set.
thx she says, with digital gratitude.
I used to know everyone’s number,
A big Rolodex sitting in my head—
Now my memory’s been outsourced
To ‘share’ buttons and Wikipedia instead.
But I’ll try not to forget this one message:
Socrates had Phaedrus’ digits memorized.