Agape: Ode to Diderot

by Larry Chamberlin   Nov 15, 2018

Agape: Ode to Diderot

Diderot replaced the book
upon the shelf and sighed;
it had failed to capture his heart
and then the thought had died.

A nun smoothed out bleached linen
praying in her weakened motion
goodly heart enraptured easily
never flagging in true devotion.

A child once played with his sister
with an eye set out for strangers
safety within in his guardian ways
had kept her from most dangers.

Lonely Diderot continued his stroll
many questions twisting his brow:
what is love and what is it to man,
with what blessings is he endowed?

A man stood beating his horse,
reins wound tight and closely held,
soft-heart jeune fille raced between
she took the lash meant for the geld.

Another raid surely comes tonight
gendarmes rifling through his papers
perhaps he'd be arrested yet again
left in unwritten dark, not even tapers.

Still they would not stop his words
long as he had tongue and breath;
royal injustice, duty, love for man
will all propel him until his death.

It must be the small acts of bravery
like taking pain for helpless others;
love is thus shown if ever it was,
enfolding each man as your brother.

Dear Angelique had died a nun
tormented endless by her superior;
yet this female Socrates knew
never are there folk inferior.

Thoughts of his sister led down
to anger and need for retaliation;
he must set aside all base pursuit,
it's time lost in impotent fixation.

Spread the knowledge all at once
encyclopedic dissertation.
Publish it! Let this wisdom buy
the common person's liberation.

For who possessing this truth
would suffer bondage longer?
Disseminate poor man's learning,
help the lowly become stronger.

LMC circa 2015 [found forgotten in my earlier works]
[Denis Diderot (1713-1784) is probably the most celebrated French Renaissance writer/philosopher not buried in the Parthenon of Paris. Most of his life was spent seeking to understand the nature of the cosmos in relation to God. He was devoted to his sister who was worked to death by her fellow nuns; this incident drove him away from Christianity. He wrote as a deist, later an atheist, but in the end we know not his faith.
Repressed by the French government in 1749, Diderot promised never to engage in seditious writing again and was released from prison on that accord. As soon as he was released he began work on the first comprehensive encyclopedia. Far beyond the scope of any work before, his encyclopedia encompassed the fields of science, philosophy and writing. It was hailed as providing a wealth of knowledge in vast areas but was suppressed by the national police as seditious due to his articles on religion and natural law.]


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  • 6 months ago

    by Daniel

    A mature and fitting ode, Larry. Love it