Art Aeon Poetry


     Art Aeon is the author of the following books of poetry which have been published by Aeon Press in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


    Collections of short lyric poems:





    A collection of photographs and their matching short poems:


    The Yosemite: Images and Echoes (2013)








    A Drama in Verse:



    Beyond the Tragedies of Oedipus and Antigone (2011)









    Long narrative poems:



    Enigmas of the Trojan War (2016)

      http://epe.lac- bac.gc.ca/100/200/300/aeon_press/enigmas/index.html




    Beyond the Trojan War (2017)

    http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/200/300/aeon_press/beyond_ trojan/index.html







    This website has been linked to the Electronic Collections of the National Library and Archives of Canada: the whole content of each published book by Art Aeon is freely accessible from the above list of the books in this site, and / or via the AMICUS Basic Search Program, Library and Archives Canada.


    The lists and locations of the libraries which keep the printed books by Art Aeon can be viewed at the website of the World Catalogue of Libraries:



    For a preview of the books by Art Aeon,


    please check Google Books Preview Program:


  • About  Art Aeon



    Art Aeon is a pen name used by Myong G. Yoon (also called Myong Yoon, Myonggeun Yoon, or Myong Geun Yoon) for the publication of his books of poetry since 2003.


    He was born in 1939, Seoul, Korea. He studied physics and mathematics (B. Sc. in physics 1962), and then theoretical physics at Graduate School, Seoul National University, but it was disrupted due to a 3-year conscription to the Korean Army. After the devastating 3 years of agony and despairs, he found a life-giving chance to study at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1965; through the kind guidance of Prof. Cornelius Tobias, he was awarded a Donner Predoctoral Fellowship in biophysics.




    At UC Berkeley he was nurtured by three great mentors of science: Prof. Horace Barlow, a pioneer in visual neurophysiology; Prof. Gunther Stent, a pioneer in molecular biology; and Prof. Owen Chamberlain, a Nobel laureate in physics. For his doctoral work, he investigated the absolute sensitivity of visuo-neural transduction (number of photons required to elicit detectable changes in neural signals) by neurophysiological recording of action potentials (inner language of nerve cells) from individual ganglion cells in the cat's retina, and their functional changes over vast range (over billion folds) of visual adaptation.


    After he completed his Ph. D. in biophysics at Berkeley in 1969, he went to the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena for his postdoctoral work on brain research at the lab of Prof. Roger Sperry (who won a Nobel Prize in physiology in 1981). At Caltech, he investigated various neurobiological factors which control the orderly regeneration of optic fibers and their re-establishment of functional neural connections and/or plastic neural reorganizations (e.g., field compression, expansion, transposition, localized rotation, inversion, trans-location, etc.) following various experimental micro-surgical manipulations (e.g., partial excision, split, re-implantation after rotation or inversion, transplantation, etc.) of the visual pathways of lower vertebrates. [For his scientific works, refer to https://www.google.ca/?gws_rd=ssl#q=Myong+G.+Yoon].



    In 1971 he married Myonghae Shin, a violinist graduated from Wien Universitat fur Musik und darstellende Kunst. They have four children: Grace, Michael, David, and Florence, and many lovely grandchildren.


    In 1972 he moved with his family to Canada as a Killam Research Professor at Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.


    Since his retirement from Dalhousie University in 2003, Myong Yoon has devoted himself writing his books of poetry under the pen name: Art Aeon.





  • From Science to Poetry





    The gradual metamorphosis of a researcher in science (Myong Yoon) into a novice in poetry (Art Aeon) may be described as follows:


    Midway in his life, Myong Yoon found himself lost; his work on the brain research at cellular and molecular levels stalled at impasse. He realized that the works of the brain of Homo sapience was the deepest mystery in the universe: Our sciences and arts are the products of the abstract mental representations of things perceived and/or imagined by our brain as expressed by use of conventional systems of signs (e.g., languages, mathematics, music, etc.) invented by the societies of the Homo sapience. Thus the creative use of language by the human brain seemed to him the most challenging task to look into.



    He struggled to change his research into the field of neuro-imaging with f-MRI to study the characteristic temporal patterns of the activities of the specific neural structures of the human brain during the performance of experimentally designed linguistic and/or other cognitive tasks in the normal subjects.





    In his sabbatical leave at Cambridge University in 1987, he studied linguistics to learn the various pragmatic contexts in which the communications among the human brains were carried out by means of the perceptible linguistic signals that conveyed the abstract semantic content, i.e., 'meaning'.



    In Cambridge he also ventured to audit lectures on the classic literature: the epics of Homer and Vergil; the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, the Dialogues of Plato, the Divine Comedy of Dante; and Paradise Lost of Milton. These inner awakening experiences were later recollected in Pilgrimage to England, the first part of Echoes from Times Past (2008). Perusing these timeless classics for countless times later, he jotted down his spontaneous responses in fragments; some of which have gradually developed into substantial narratives [The Final Day of Socrates (2010); Beyond the Tragedies of Oedipus and Antigone (2011); Revealing Dream of Vergil (2014); Homer and Odysseus (2015); Enigmas of the Trojan War (2016); Beyond the Trojan War (2017) ] after decades of long slow gestation.


    His narrative work on Dante is still in gestation, yet to see the light someday.




    His innate love for the sublime beauty and deep mystery of nature has been nurtured by the great ancient Chinese poets (Chaung-zi; Tao Yuan Ming; Wang Wei, Li Bai, and Du Fu) to sing of them in simple lyric poems: Flowing with Seasons (2003); Hymn to Shining Mountains (2004); In the Range of Light (2005); Snowflakes on Old Pines (2006); Prayer to Sea (2007); Echoes from Times Past (2008); and The Yosemite: Images and Echoes (2013).


    After long self-trials his efforts to grasp the profound philosophy of Daoism, and the sublime poetry of T'ang era were developed into the narrative poems: Breathing in Dao (2009), and Du Fu and a Pilgrim (2012), respectively.




    It is questionable whether what Art Aeon (as a persona of Myong Yoon) has written may be regarded as a kind of ‘poetry’, or not. Inspired by Dante's terza rima, he improvised syllabic tercet stanzas (either ascending 6-8-10 syllables or descending 10-8-6 syllables for a tercet) for his narrative poems, because he lacks any training in the proper accentual prosody of English poetry.

    Borrowing the English language as a foreign tongue, and lisping it as a dumb-deaf, however, he toils in awe and trance how to sing what he feels, thinks, and imagines as plain and deep as he can.














  • Enigmas of the Trojan War (2016)

    by Art Aeon


      http://epe.lac- bac.gc.ca/100/200/300/aeon_press/enigmas/index.html



    Enigmas of the Trojan War is a long narrative poem in tercet stanzas. It imagines a timeless dream of Outis, the bard from Ithaca, known as Homer of the Odyssey, in which he converses with the spirit of his ancestor, Odysseus, about the causes and outcomes of the Trojan War.


    It consists of middle two books of an epic poem: Inner Journey into Ancient Epics:


    Book 3: Reflections on the Trojan War

    Book 4: Revelations of Helen


  • Homer and Odysseus   (2015)


    by Art Aeon




















    Homer and Odysseus is a narrative poem in tercet stanzas. It imagines a timeless dream of Outis (the bard of Ithaca, known as Homer of the Odyssey) in which he converses with the spirit of his forefather, Odysseus. It consists of the beginning two books of an epic poem: Inner Journey into Ancient Epics.





    Book 1: Into a Dream of Homer unfolds imaginary dialogues between Outis and Odysseus in a revealing dream of the bard, Homer-Outis: The bard prays to muses for inspiration to write new epics, and falls asleep among scrolls of his unfinished works. In his dream, he sails to a mystic isle, and meets an ancient sage; he asks the stranger who he is. The visitor says that he is a bard from Ithaca, called Outis, known as Homer of the Odyssey. The sage entreats him to sing an episode from the Odyssey. When the bard sings the gist of Book 21 in which Odysseus succeeded in stringing his bow, the deeply moved sage reveals himself that he is Odysseus, the very Son of Pain. The elated bard prays in awe to the godlike hero to relate what happened after he had returned home. But Odysseus wants to hear the gist of the entire Odyssey to insure its validity before he tells what followed. Thus Outis narrates the main events of the hard adventurous homecoming of his hero. Odysseus confirms what Outis has sung in his Odyssey, except the episode of the hero’s alleged visit of the Hades in Book 11: He denies that he made such an impossible visit in reality. But he admires the bard’s insightful imaginations which enthrall him spellbound as if he had really underwent such vivid heart-breaking experiences; even if it is not real, the imaginative portrayal of deep human feelings that transcend the fathomless gulf between the quick and the dead is sublime.  Odysseus asks what the bard plans next to sing of. Outis confesses that he wishes to sing of a complete epic cycle of the Trojan War;  Although he admires the Iliad of the supreme bard, Meles, known as Homer of the Iliad, the deeper he peruses it, the epic seems to become more enigmatic to him. With great curiosity,Odysseus asks Outis to tell him the main points of the Iliad of Homer-Meles so that he may check out whether they agree with whatever he could remember from his own experiences of the terrible Trojan War. As he narrates a pithy gist of the Iliad, Outis points out his deep perplexity and frustrations about the epic. Odysseus asks Outis what matters trouble him so dismayed in darkly perplexity. Outis complains that Meles left the most crucial events in the Trojan War unsung in his Iliad: the eventual fall of Troy as well as the first nine years of its invasion by the massive Achaean armadas. Furthermore how and why the Trojan War had been provoked, and executed, and the mystery of Helen’s elopement were left unsung by Homer-Meles in apprehensive silence and deeply overwhelming enigma. Earnestly Outis entreats Odysseus, the brave and resourceful hero of the Trojan War, to relate him the whole story of the real Trojan War as he has experienced in person so that Outis may sing of what have really happened for the mankind to come. Prudent Odysseus eventually accepts the challenging task: he will try to relate whatever he could remember from his own experiences of the awful Trojan War with renewed pangs of pains and throes of agonies to bring forth the truth for the humanity. Beneath a sacred tree towering high up the boundless clear sky, Odysseus and Outis nestle down at ease. Resourceful warrior Odysseus turns into a bard to sing his own experiences.  The poet Outis becomes his captivated ardent audience, elated to hear what Odysseus will unfold. Thus deepens this creative revealing dream of the earnest bard Homer-Outis in his pure imaginative realm.






    Book 2: Exile of Odysseus with Penelope unfolds Odysseus’ narration of what happened after his return to 

    Ithaca: Telemachus summoned the Ithacan Assembly, and announced the return of his father. Odysseus revealed himself as a sole survivor of shipwrecks on the way sailing home after the sack of Troy. The Ithacans welcomed him stunned in deep awe and wonder. When he told that all suitors of his queen Penelope had perished, commotions erupted among the suitors’ families. He appointed Mentor as the commander of loyal soldiers to keep the justice within and safety from possible invasion from abroad. At this point, Odysseus was informed that his father, the old king Laertes, was gravely ill; he rushed to see Laertes at his remote farm.  At his death Laertes bade a moving farewell to his beloved son with prophetic advice. Soon after his father’s funeral, Odysseus fell ill; in spite of the loving cares of his wife, it got worse. He confessed to perceptive Penelope dire troubles in his mind; he felt as if he were a ghost of dead Odysseus, frightening his people with uneasy fears. With the support of his devoted wife,  Odysseus decided to abdicate his kingship, and retire with Penelope to his father’s farm as a humble hermit-farmer,following Laertes’ noble precedent. Telemachus was acclaimed by the Ithacan Assembly as their new king. He married Polycaste of Pylos, the youngest daughter of Nestor.Gradually Odysseus recovered his health as well as his vital verve, enjoying the plain pastoral life with his wife in simple peace. Eventually civility, peace, and amity were restored in Ithaca. When his dear nurse Eurycleia died at old age, Odysseus held a stately funeral. At this point Outis asks him why he paid such an unusual honour to the slave woman. Odysseus explains that Eurycleia opened his eyes to see the true beauty and wisdom of brilliant Penelope, while he went to the Tyndaraus’ palace as one of many outstanding suitors vying each other to win the coveted Helen’s hand in marriage.

     One day, Odysseus was suddenly awaken to realize that a massive armada of warships, launched by the enraged families of the slain suitors, threatened to invade Ithaca. He wanted to fight with military aids from his former comrades-in-arms in the Trojan War. But wise Penelope persuaded Odysseus and the commander of the enemy forces, King Nisus of Dulichion to negotiate for peace:  Let both parties consult with the oracle at Delphi, and abide the divine judgement on the critical dispute. The Delphic verdict was that the suitors’ families must repay tenfold what their sons had plundered; when they fulfil it, then Odysseus must leave Ithaca for a life-long exile. Resolutely Penelope insisted that she must join with Odysseus in his life-long exile: She persuaded Odysseus that they would pursue a new life as humble pilgrims to learn the human nature and righteous ways of life to the very end; she suggested to visit first wise old Nestor in Pylos for his advice; next she insisted that they should visit Helen and Menelaus in Sparta. Penelope held a strong conviction that the alleged abduction of her dear good cousin Helen by Paris or her elopement with him was an absurd hoax, made up by the vile Atrides; she was determined to find out the truth hidden deep in Helen’s heart. Penelope also wished to visit Troy with Odysseus as humble pilgrims for peace; she wanted to pay tribute to the innocent victims of the cruel war, valiant heroes of both Achaean and Trojan. And then she also wished to visit Egypt to learn of their timeless wisdom. At last Odysseus and Penelope sailed from Ithaca to the open sea. Odysseus steered his ship to make a surprise visit of King Nisus to restore mutual amity with the suitors’ family in person. When the first mission for peace was accomplished, they set the sails to Pylos to visit Nestor.











  • Revealing Dream of Vergil  (2014)

    by Art Aeon





























        Revealing Dream of Vergil by Art Aeon (2014) is a long narrative poem of 2139 verses in syllabic tercet stanzas.    It narrates an imaginary dialogue between Augustus (63 BCE-14CE), the first Roman emperor, and Varius Rufus (74-14 BCE), the literary executor of the great Roman poet Vergil (70-19 BCE): Varius comes to report the untimely death of Vergil to Augustus at his private library. Augustus is relieved to learn from Varius that the unborn brainchild of Vergil did not perish with him as Varius has kept Vergil’s manuscript of the Aeneid: a great heroic epic poem, Homeric in its lofty style but Roman in its patriotic spirit. At the sincere behest of Augustus, Varius relates a pithy gist of the first six books of the Aeneid: the awful shipwreck of the Trojan fleets commanded by Aeneas near Carthage; Aeneas’ meeting with Queen Dido of Carthage, and her generous reception of the Trojans as guests; Aeneas’ moving and heartbreaking narration of the tragic fall of Troy, and his wanderings over harsh wild seas to found his kingdom in Italy: the ardent love between Queen Dido and Aeneas that ended in the tragic suicide of Dido as Aeneas left her, obeying the decree of the gods; Aeneas’ supernatural adventure into Dis, the underworld of the dead, guided by Sybil, to see his dead father, Anchises in Elysium; Anchises’ revelations to Aeneas about the future of the great Roman empire to be founded by Aeneas in Italy.

        Deeply moved, Augustus requests Varius to bring Vergil's manuscript of the Aeneid to him so that he can peruse the Aeneid himself right away as he respects it as the wise and patriotic bequest to him and to all Romans by his beloved poet Vergil; he also asks Varius whether Vergil told him any last wishes that the emperor may fulfil. Varius says that Vergil made no request to commemorate him after his death. All that Vergil asked was that Varius hear his strange prophetic dream, and reveal it to others. In his numinous dream the shade of Aeneas came to Vergil, while he was wandering in Greece. Aeneas asked Vergil why he hesitated to bring his Aeneid into the light. When Vergil confessed that he felt his Aeneid was incomplete as it was, Aeneas offered to guide Vergil to visit Homer in the realm of Dis, and discuss the Aeneid. Thus encouraged, Vergil undertook the hard adventure to Dis with Aeneas. Eventually Vergil met with Meles, the Homer of the Iliad, and Outis, the Homer of the Odyssey. Vergil recited his Aeneid for the revered Greek poets in the presence of Proserpina and Aeneas in the temple of the Queen of the Dead. After profound poetic discussions on the Aeneid, the Odyssey, the Iliad, and the Epic of Gilgamesh, Vergil was convinced that he should bring forth his Aeneid as it was into the light. When Vergil finished revealing his numinous dream to Varius, he gently yielded to the stern call of death in peace.

        The ambiguous title of this poem may be interpreted at three levels: Vergil had a dream which was of revealing quality; or someone (Varius) revealed Vergil’s dream to others (Augustus); or someone (Art Aeon) reveals his own fanciful dream about Vergil.

























































  • Dù Fǔ [杜甫] and a Pilgrim  (2012)

    by Art Aeon

























    Dù Fǔ [杜甫] and a Pilgrim (2012) by Art Aeon is a long narrative poem of 2111 verses in quaternary stanzas. It is an imaginary dialogue between Du Fu (712-770 ), the great Chinese Poet Saint of the T’ang Dynasty, and a fictional pilgrim character, a young poet, called Bright Moon.

    The pilgrim visits old frail Du Fu, stranded on a boat adrift the Grand River (Yangze). He confesses to Du Fu that he is a love-child of the learned courtesan, called White Lotus, in Chang An. Du Fu remembers seeing White Lotus dancing at a royal party; he wrote a poem about her exquisite artistry, and presented it the prince who invited him. White Lotus kept Du Fu’s poem, and cherished it as the most precious thing in her life. In spite of his harsh miserable life as a helpless orphan, the young man strove to find out his unknown father. Du Fu tells him that he is not his father, but he embraces him as his pupil with fatherly love. Du Fu presumes that the pilgrim might have been fathered by his revered friend, the great Chinese Poet Transcendental, Li Bai (701-762) as he has heard that Li Bai fell passionately in love with White Lotus while he worked at the Imperial Court in Chang An. Bright Moon entreats Du Fu to tell him about his youth and how he learned to write superb poems. Du Fu tells him cherished memories of his happy creative youth and his carefree adventures at famous scenic and historic sites with Li Bai, singing of them with youthful passions. Du Fu recites Li Bai’s poems, and asks the young poet to comment on each; Bright Moon perceives the ingenious spontaneity of Li Bai’s poems with keen insight. Encouraged by Du Fu, the pilgrim recites his own simple poems on nature. They remind Du Fu of the pure sublime poems of Wang Wei (701-761), the great Chinese Poet Buddha. Du Fu brings out an old chest that contains what he has written, and offers to let the pilgrim to read his poems, and to copy whichever he likes. Suddenly Du Fu collapses and falls into a deep sleep.  When he awakes at last, he relates his mysterious dream to the elated pilgrim; Li Bai came to see Du Fu on his boat; they celebrated their blissful reunion by exchanging poetic chants. The bright full moon was rising on the Grand River. All of sudden, Li Bai jumped off the skiff, as if trying to soar up to the moon. In shock, Du Fu swooned. When he regained his senses, Du Fu saw a noble bird flying into the moon. Then he awoke from the strange dream. When Du Fu finishes recalling his dream, a bright shooting star falls down nearby, stunning the pilgrim. In peace Du Fu gently passes away, blessing the pilgrim to be a pure poet true to his heart.























  • Beyond the Tragedies

    of Oedipus and Antigone (2011)
    by Art Aeon


























        Beyond the Tragedies of Oedipus and Antigone (2011) by Art Aeon is a long drama (2331 verses) in tercet stanzas. It consists of twelve scenes:


        Scene 1: The ghost of the self-blinded Oedipus walks alone on his way to Hades just after meeting his death at Colonus. He invokes Hermes to guide him. The compassionate Hermes comes down, and leads the helpless Oedipus.


        Scene 2: The court of final judgment of the dead in Hade. Queen Persephone sits on her throne with six divine judges. Hermes enters leading the blind Oedipus. Persephone asks Oedipus who he was and what he did while he was alive. Oedipus confesses that unwittingly he killed his father, King Laius of Thebes, and was married to the widowed Queen Jocasta, his own mother. The appalled judges ask Oedipus why he committed such abhorred misdeeds unintended. Oedipus says that the Delphic oracle of Apollo presaged that he had been so doomed even before he was born. The court of the dead decides to send a judge to see Apollo to confirm Oedipus’ incredible claim.


       Scene 3: Apollo in Olympus asserts to the judge from Hades that he knows nothing of Oedipus, let alone that he made such an absurd prophecy; he is indignant that vile humans make up such blatant fibs to blame gods as false excuses for their own horrible crimes.


      Scene 4: In Hades, Oedipus is deeply relieved to learn that Apollo had never condemned him with the awful prophecy; now he suspects that it might have been a hoax, plotted by Acastus, a wily ambitious noble of Corinth. Oedipus was brought up as the beloved son of King Polybus and Queen Merope of Corinth. In his happy youth, Oedipus fell in love with Arete, the daughter of Acastus; he slandered that Oedipus was a base foundling who would bring harm and shame, and thus must be banished lest he should become a terrible tyrant of Corinth.


       Scene 5: The ghost Acastus is summoned to the Court to testify. Apollo comes from Olympus to Hades to witness the trial of Oedipus. Acastus confesses that he played a subtle farce to save himself from political troubles with King Polybus; Acastus disguised himself as a priest at Delphi, and proclaimed to Oedipus that he had been doomed to kill his father, and mate with his own mother on his father’s bed. When Oedipus heard such an awful hoax, he was shocked in panic dismay, and fled from Corinth as a self-exile.


        Scene 6: The ghost of Laius is summoned. He encounters the disfigured Oedipus, and recognizes him as the youth who killed him at Phocis on his way to Delphi, but he denies resolutely that Oedipus was his infant son who had survived somehow his attempt at cruel infanticide.


        Scene 7: The ghost of the thrall of Laius and Jocasta is summoned. He admits that King Laius gave him an infant and bade him to discard it in the wilderness of Mount Cithaeron, but his conscience compelled him to disobey such a cruel command. Thus the thrall gave the infant to a shepherd from Corinth. King Polybus took the child from his shepherd and reared him as his son. Laius confesses that he attempted the cruel infanticide, because he was so afraid of the awful curse of Pelops that his son to be born would kill him.


       Scene 8: The ghost of Tiresias is summoned. He brags that he was a wise seer who foresaw things to come, and helped ignorant mortals to avoid misfortunes. Oedipus confutes that Tiresias did not predict crucial events before they occurred; his pretence of foreseeing was based on what he gathered from what had already happened.


    Scene 9: The ghost of Jocasta is summoned. She reveals her stunning secrets; the real father of Oedipus is not Laius but Chrysippus, the son of Pelops. She fell deeply in love with the handsome Chrysippus while he was detained in Thebes after he won the chariot race at the Nemean Games. When King Pelops sent his army, led by Atreus and Thyestes, Chrysippus’ two half-brothers, she attempted to elope with Chrysippus, waiting for him in the woods. When Chrysippus came to the hiding place, Atreus and Thyestes murdered their half-brother Chrysippus, and pretended that he had committed suicide to enrage King Pelops against Laius. Soon Laius proposed marriage to Jocasta.


       Scene 10: Suddenly the ghost of Antigone enters, led by Hermes. She tells the dismayed Oedipus that Creon put her to death as she disobeyed his stern edict not to bury her dead brother Polyneices, as she believes that a proper burial of the dead is an immutable law of Heaven. The entire court pays honour to the brave upright Antigone as the champion and martyr of divine law.


    Scene 11: The ghost of the veiled Arete, led by Jocasta, enters. She reveals that she gave birth to all four children by Oedipus as a surrogate mother. Antigone was overjoyed to learn that she was not a product of abhorred incest. The Court decides unanimously that Oedipus is innocent from any crime. The Court also elects Antigone as a new divine judge of the final judgment of the dead.


    Scene 12: Hermes confesses to Apollo that he wants to become a human to live with Antigone in Hades, quitting his divine post in Olympus as the herald of Zeus. They pursue deep ontological discussions about the divine and the human. Apollo invites all the characters involved in the trial of Oedipus to come up to Olympus, and present their human tragedy to move the gods. Hermes remains in Hades to coach them for the performance of the divine comedy in Olympus.














































    The Final Day of Socrates (2010)

    by Art Aeon

























        The Final Day of Socrates (2010) by Art Aeon is a narrative poem in syllabic tercet stanzas. It tells an imaginary dialogue (in the style of Plato’s Phaedo) between two characters, young Plato (428-348 BCE) and Xanthippe, the widow of Socrates, about what Socrates (469-399 BCE) discussed with his loyal friends (Crito, Cebes, Simmias, Antisthenes, and others) on his last day, and how he met his death in the Athenian prison.

       Before dawn of the fatal day, Crito and Xanthippe went to see Socrates in prison; they tried to persuade Socrates to escape his death, as Crito had done something with the jailer. Cebes and Simmias were waiting to escort Socrates wherever he would choose to settle. But Socrates refused it resolutely; he should die in Athens to uphold her laws in justice. When Cebes and Simmias came in, Socrates began to discuss the nature of death. He speculated that the state of death may be one of two things. Either it is an absolute nothingness; if so death would be a wonderful reward of timeless peace. If, on the other hand, death sets in transmigration of soul, it would be great blessing for us to die wisely; anyone who pursues philosophy must study nothing but how to die and be dead wisely. At this point Antisthenes (c. 445 – c. 365 BCE) came in; he asked how could a mortal human really know unseen immortal gods, and their minds. Socrates expounded the profound and revolutionary thoughts of his revered philosopher, Xenophanes (c. 570 - c. 475 BCE), who had criticized the traditional portrayal of gods in the poems by Hesiod and by Homer as absurd and ridiculous. Xenophanes wrote that they attributed to the gods all things that were disreputable and were to be punished when done by humans; and they told of the gods many ungodly deeds: stealing, adultery, and deception of each other. He criticized that mortals supposed that the gods were also begotten as they were, and that they wore human’s clothing, and the gods had human speech and body. Yes, and if oxen and horses or lions had hands, and could paint with their hands, and produce works of art as humans do, then horses would paint the forms of their gods like horses, and oxen like oxen, and make the body of their gods in their own images according to their several kinds. Furthermore Xenophanes recognized the intrinsic limit of humans' knowing anything in truth; the clear and certain truth no man can know nor there will be any human who knows about the impersonal abstract One that sets all things in orderly motions and governs all events without any change in Itself. Then Antisthenes asked Socrates about justice for the gods and for humans. Socrates discussed it with examples from the tragedy, Prometheus Bound, by Aeschylus (525 – 456 BCE).

        At last the jailer came in with a pot of poison; he ordered everyone to leave except Xanthippe. Suddenly he broke down, and urged Socrates to flee for freedom. Socrates said: “I thank you for your gracious sacrifice. But my conscience commands me to obey the laws with good cheers and hopes. I wish to pray to the gods, breathing in fresh air at calm sunset, and drink the drug as their gift to freedom.” In composure Socrates drank the poison; then he walked stately to meet death in deep awesome grandeur, beaming sublime, sacred, spiritual light. That was the numinous last sight of Socrates on earth. Thus Xanthippe ends the imaginary dialogue with Plato.









































































  • Breathing in Dao (道 ) (2009)

    by Art Aeon
























    Breathing in Dao (道 ) (2009) by Art Aeon consists of two narrative poems in the formof syllabic tercet stanzas.

    Part I: Awakening by a Brook:

    Homage to Laozi (老 子 )

    This narrative poem attempts to unfold the quintessence of Dae De Jing, attributed to the wise esoteric Chinese sage, Laozi (6th century BCE), through fictional conversations between a meek wayfarer and a mystic voice resounding from water.

    The voice expounds: “All beings, by their intrinsic nature, come from the ultimate reality, say, ‘IT’ or ‘DAO’. If we do not confine it with words, it remains the pure, unknowable, ultimate origin of the whole cosmos; if we name it as ‘DAO’, then it becomes the ultimate Mother who begets all things. When one is bound by selfish desire, he peeps merely into its outer fringe; but freed from desire,one can see deep into its inner essence.”

    As for practical advice, the voice says: “Keep yourself to be true in what you think, speak, and act: be honest, just, and fair in your doing. Choose good ground to settle in. Find an abysm to purify your mind. Seek good people to learn the virtuous true ways of life. Be willing and faithful to serve others. A wise man acts without forcing; a good ruler governs without imposing; a sage puts himself behind others, yet he ends up ahead of all. One who can act selflessly realizes his own true self. One who regards others as lively parts of his own body may be trusted to govern people wisely. Choose the proper time for each action; resolve intrigues; blunt sharp edges; balance hostile opposites into good harmony. Merge humbly with the mundane world to be come harmonious with nature. Whoever keeps on such a way of life fulfils the noblest task for eternity.”








    Part II: A Tale of Dreaming Butterfly:

    Homage to Zhuangzi (莊 子 )

    Emulating the masterful art of using fables by the great Chinese sage poet, Zhuangzi (4th century BCE), in expounding his profound philosophical thoughts, this narrative poem portrays the character-butterfly who dreams that it is the wise sage, Zhuangzi. The butterfly visits a fictional character-rose who dreams that it is a poet. The butterfly explains to the rose the quintessence of the abstruse Inner Chapters of his philosophical book. It says: “I am, in fact the very man who had imagined the fantastic fables in Zhuangzi that have fascinated you. I aim to teach every one how to harmonize diverse things and conflicting opinions by virtue of DAO.” The rose says: “Show me what DAO is.” The butterfly replies: “DAO is the way; one learns it by walking on it. Man names a thing by his whim. Beyond such name, each thing has its intrinsic nature and its own function. Yet all different things turn out to be one in DAO; if we look beyond mere appearances, we see this ultimate oneness of all things; then we have no use of petty differentiation. Thus the sage dwells freely in the equality of all things; being equanimous is to realize one’s true nature; one lives in perfect freedom and pure happiness, inhering deep in immanent DAO.”