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Thales



Quod est ante pedes nemo spectat, caeli scrutantur plagas
–Cicero

... and he was fixed on Pleiades
   Who moved across the tranquil night:
Her glinting gown, though heard to see,
   Had brought him to her precious sight.

He plotted, mapped her silent course—
   Made measurement of where she fled.
Her beauty, oh alluring force,
   Had Thales go whereso she led.

And led he was through starry dark,
   Through midnight glade and hill and dell
'Til suddenly, without a mark,
   A well appeared, and Thales fell!

About this poem

Thales (pronounced ‘thay-leez’) is a pre-Socratic philosopher and polymath who endeavored to know as much as he could about the natural world, including the heavenly bodies. The fable of him stumbling into a pit because of his passionate fixation on celestial bodies was first expressed by Socrates in Plato’s dialogue, "Theaetetus". Socrates says there: “While he was studying the stars and looking upwards, he fell into a pit, and a neat, witty Thracian servant girl jeered at him, they say, because he was so eager to know the things in the sky that he could not see what was there before him at his very feet. " 

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Submitted by Vixility on September 22, 2022

Modified by Vixility

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John W. May

John W. May has lived in Colorado all his life. He currently works in the field of ophthalmology and loves to mountain bike and read about history. John first became a lover of poetry in 2008 after having read a poem by John Milton. He has been reading and studying the works of various poets since. His favorite poets are Emily Dickinson, Fyodor Tyutchev and W. B. Yeats. more…

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