A.E. Stallings


Verses Starting with a Phrase out of Plato’s Republic

ἀληθῶς φιλόσοφον

Your dog’s a true philosopher,
Your cat’s a libertarian,
Your rabbit is a sophist, or
A wild surmise in Darien.

Your hamster is a heretic,
Your goldfish is an anarchist,
Your error is a ferret—sic—
Your parakeet does not exist.

Your gerbil is Pythagoras!
Your tortoise, Zeno’s paradox,
Your snake’s a Latin tag, or is
A Hegel, with cream cheese, and Locke’s.

Your hermit crab’s ad hominem,
Your squirrel is scurrilous, your toad
Is paranoid, or one of them.
Your penguin is a palinode.

Your Shih-Tzu is a shibboleth,
Your aardvark’s alphabetical,
Your skunk I would not quibble with,
Your hippo’s hypothetical.

Your hedgehog’s the hypotenuse,
Your duck’s antediluvian,
Your python may have gotten loose,
Your guinea pig’s Peruvian.

Your cat is Schrödinger, or not,
But I can tell you, officer,
Before Descartes, your horse was thought,
Your dog, a true philosopher.

A.E. Stallings is a U.S. poet based in Greece. Her most recent poetry collection, Like, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She lives with her journalist husband and her two children and their pets, Lucy, a feline Neoplatonist, and Oreo, the flop-eared refugee rescue rabbit, an adherent of Epicureanism. In her spare time she shoos feral peacocks.