Socrates ghost must haunt me now,
Notorious death has let him go,
He comes to me with a clumsy bow,
Saying in his disused voice,
That I do not know I do not know,
The mechanical whims of appetite
Are all that I have of conscious choice,
The butterfly caged in eclectic light
Is my only day in the world’s great night,
Love is not love, it is a child
Sucking his thumb and biting his lip,
But grasp it all, there may be more!
From the topless sky to the bottomless floor
With the heavy head and the fingertip:
All is not blind, obscene, and poor.
Socrates stands by me stockstill,
Teaching hope to my flickering will,
Pointing to the sky’s inexorable blue
—Old Noumenon, come true, come true!

Analysis, meaning and summary of Delmore Schwartz's poem Socrates Ghost Must Haunt Me Now

1 Comment

  1. Charlie McFalls says:

    Can anyone tell me what this poem means? I think that it might refer back to Socrates’s teachings, because his philosophy dealt with finding the true meaning of life.

Leave a Reply to Charlie McFalls Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by Delmore Schwartz better? If accepted, your analysis will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.