Classic Encounter

by Carleton Raisbeck (October 2018)

Milk, Michael Borremans, 2003





I call them The Academy Peripatetic

because on the dealings of men

they dwell day and night,

and are without

a place to call home.


On the steps of a church

they converge, devoted

to discourse and drink.

(but by morning possess

much less resolve

than Socrates in The Symposium.)


Recently, I saw them sprawled

topless, soaking the sun,

with the richness of Senators

in Roman bath houses.


Stood before them, a defendant; a rhetor,

stained with icons of gods on his skin,

defending a thesis and waving

a chalice of tin.


Deploying an anaphora, he spake:

“I ain’t never seen her.

And I ain’t never touched her.

And I ain’t never gonna see her again.”


But alas, his narratio

though emphatically put,

failed to convince;

a questionable ethos

or a flaw in his logic, perhaps.


And of course, as it does, this discourse became flesh:

a refutatio to the stomach and face

—a conclusion, at least, it may well be said,

with less finality than hemlock.



Carleton Raisbeck is a writer from Dorset.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New English Review Press is a priceless cultural institution.
                              — Bruce Bawer


Pre-order on Amazon or Amazon UK or wherever books are sold

Order at Amazon, Amazon UK, or wherever books are sold. 

Order at Amazon US, Amazon UK or wherever books are sold.

Available at Amazon US, Amazon UK or wherever books are sold.

For the literature lover in your life on Amazon US, Amazon UK or wherever books are sold. 

For children of all ages. Order at AmazonAmazon UK or wherever books are sold.

Send this to a friend