Follow by Email

Monday, January 9, 2012


I don't know why it is but whenever I cut wood these days I dream up new poems.  Here's the one I just sketched out.  What you're seeing with my poetry is the first draft, without editing.  I'm sure my writing teacher, Sheila Murphy, wisely, will chide me for publishing without editing.  Such is the life of an amateur writer.

Here's the poem.


I'm a white guy

who goes

to a black church.

I'm an atheist

who believes

in God.

I'm a mortal old man

who dances

with immortal young Goddesses.

I'm a loud-mouthed talker

who loves

to meditate silently.

I'm an anarchist at heart

who practiced law

for 35 years.

I'm a married man

who likes

to live alone.

I'm a lover of Wisdom

who constantly plays

The Fool.

         bob dutcher, january 9, 2012


  1. Bob,
    I'm not a fan of your regular writing. But i do like your poetry.

  2. Bob-

    I like your poem;
    and the contradictions you described.

    Having known you for almost 25 years,
    I understand all of them, except:

    "I'm an atheist
    who believes
    in God."

    Do you care to elaborate?

    (or was it merely "poetic license"?

    Best wishes-


  3. You am that you am !

  4. Anonymous said...
    I'm not a fan of your regular writing. But i do like your poetry.
    January 9, 2012 3:56 PM

    Dear Anonymous,
    I'm glad I'm finally hitting a sweet spot for you. Some have criticized my prose as prolix, long-winded. They probably haven't suffered in silence through my talking.
    Apart from my own verbose tendency, I also wonder whether people today expect a briefer, pithier expression of ideas. Email and Facebook tend to contain shorter, more ambiguous, less-developed expositions of ideas.
    It could also simply be that I'm not a good prose writer. I do like the form of poetry because it forces me to condense, condense, condense.
    I thank you for encouraging me to write more poetry. I shall do so.

    All best,


  5. Dear John Montalbano,
    Intellectually, I am somewhere between an agnostic and an atheist. This stems from the philosophical training I got at Wesleyan University. It's not that my philosophy professors were all agnostics or atheists, but I became convinced from my study of the philosophical arguments for the existence of God that "God" is an ill-defined term and theological questions make more sense to me when viewed from the standpoint of human emotion and psychology than science as that term is conventionally understood.
    This view in no way, in my mind at least, denigrates religion or religious feeling. But I am more comfortable understanding my religious practice and belief as commitments of my emotional self rather than as decisions of my scientific world view.
    The baptist church I now attend is much more spirited and emotional than the congregational church I left in July of last year. I find myself moved to tears often during the services. The music, the preaching, the singing, the dancing all transport me, emotionally, spiritually, to a place I cannot go with mere rationality as my guide.
    As I say in the poem, my life is a bundle of contradictions. This in no way bothers me. To imagine otherwise would be to fail to be authentic. The existentialists called such inauthenticity "bad faith." In the same way, my religious experience is of a different sort than my scientific understanding of the world. And this apparent contradiction also causes me no agita, none at all.
    I could give a fuller exposition of these ideas in prose, but perhaps I should try my hand at explaining them more succinctly, in poetry.

    All best,

    Bob Dutcher

  6. Anonymous said...
    You am that you am !
    January 9, 2012 5:36 PM

    Dear Anonymous,
    I would not have chosen that particular paraphrase from the Jewish bible (Old Testament; "I am what I am" said the voice of Jehovah) because it suggests I think of myself in the same way that the Jewish biblical writers metaphorically described their understanding of an essence of Jehovah. But I do agree with the implication of what you said, that I accept who I am, mishmash of contradictions though I be, regardless of the consequences of how people think of me.
    Thanks for Commenting.

    All best,

    Bob Dutcher

  7. Bob, In reading your blog I have been struck by the similarities between you and Nietzsche’s Zarathustra. In your prior existence you were weighted down by the law. Since you are no longer weighted down you are able to dance and create. Keep it up.

    “One must have chaos inside oneself to give birth to a dancing star”. Zarathustra’s Prologue, part 5.

  8. Dear Anonymous (January 11, 2012 at 3:16 p.m.),
    Right you are about having been "weighed down by the law" and responsibility and the need to be a money-making machine, in effect, to support that wonderful family I helped spawn.
    I love some of Nietzsche's ideas, especially the one about trying to live life with the attitude that if you had to live it over again, an infinite number of times, you're better off if you imagine you'd try to do it every time with NO CHANGES, exactly the same way each time you did it again. That way, you are not in a position of regret about your life.
    But I have not actually read much of Nietzsche's work, I'm sorry to say. I have hear of "Thus Spake Zarathustra" but never read any of it. And I absolutely LOVE the quotation you've favored us with: "One must have chaos inside oneself to give birth to a dancing star." Zarathustra’s Prologue, part 5. I happen to be at Russell Library right now, to do a little work on my wife's legal case arising from her bicycle accident, so I'll take out Zarathustra and look at that passage and its context.
    I don't think you are my dear friend Brian Fay, an Oxford-trained philosopher, for various reasons having to do with the form of your Comment, but you are certainly philosophically-oriented. And I am most grateful that you have shared your knowledge of that precise passage with me and our fellow readers.
    I had, and probably still have, much "chaos inside" myself. I don't consider myself a dancing "star" in the celebrity sense, but I do believe that the vigor and uninhibited nature of my dancing does originate in a brightly-burning energy source which I am possessed of, did not have anything to do with creating, but wish very much to share with the world.
    I hope that you will make other Comments about any subject in the future as this one of yours is most interesting and instructive.

    All best wishes,

    Bob Dutcher

  9. Grasshopper, What was Phil Hallie teaching you at Wesleyan? No Nietzsche? Dance is central to Nietzsche's writtings. See if you can find a copy of Kimerer LaMothey's book "Nitzsches Dancers". Walter Kauffman's translations are pretty good.

  10. Dear Anonymous (Jan. 11, 2012 at 4:16 p.m.),
    I didn't mean to say I never read ANY Nietzsche but never did a serious study of his thought. Phil Hallie, as you probably know, was more interested in finding examples of goodness in an evil world than of assertions of the will to power. Hence, his book about the people of the small village in France who risked their lives to save jews from the Nazis, whose ideas about the will to power led to the murder of millions of jews, gypsies, and other humans who did not fit their IDEAS about what was human.
    Phil Hallie once had a discussion with Camus, and wrote about it, in which Camus pointed out the danger of BIG IDEAS versus little realities. Ideas are wonderful, beautiful, but real human beings more so.
    I will certainly look for LaMothey's book. Looks like just what the doctor ordered for me. I agree about Kauffman. What I've read of FN is WK's translations.
    Thanks for the Comment.

    All best,

    Bob Dutcher