Robert Farrell

Meditation on the Body — After Anscombe

I’ve already forgotten what I said The people
you see here are not here are ghosts and they
are here and we are not A closed door is a door
I run against I made the door from wood and run
against it I run not until it opens for it’s closed
but until I open In the absence of a door a tree
will also serve I have forgotten what I said What
I said: the people you see here is here is body
and so we are here and too are bodies that want
to run against things and so need friction

Meditation on the Body — Against Information

There are barns and there are barns and around them
there are cows There is you and there is you against
information and your eyes see past information see
beyond measure even past the Walmart greeter All
that happens in nature is transitive regardless of what
occasions it The gods help mankind in every possible
way even when hiding even today and in horror The
same uncalled for things call us face to face with an
earth that loves rain with orange trees that love sun All
things hang together even lives that meet their natural

Meditation on the Body — Stoic Advice

Listen be all things to all people whatever they need
and there is need for all things for all people whether
it’s the sound of water poured into glasses or the sound
of stakeholders falling together and listen to these and
other sounds laughing at pain to the same question being
asked but know it’s not the same question and you are not
the same that heard it know to hear with new ears is to
remember what and how to forget is to remember what and
how not to forget with every game of softball with every
picnic falling more deeply into place to wander happy and

Meditation on the Body — After Hala Mohammad

Swallow I am in your spring a vehicle into
into a vehicle into the experience of a pleasure
as agreeable as the movement toward suffering
as the movement toward a woundability that
takes up residence in the lungs that oppresses
voice like the miracle of sea air I am a vehicle
even the gods want us to be happy


Meditation on the Body — After Anscombe

“It is important to me – speaking of closeness and distance – to recall here Kierkegaard’s stress on walking as the gait of finitude; and to note that for a similar cause walking is a great topic of Thoreau’s. Wittgenstein’s passage continues in German as follows: “Wir wollen gehen; dann brauchen wir die Reibung.” Professor Anscombe translates: ‘We want to walk; so we need friction.’ I would like to suggest that our wanting to walk is as conditional – I might almost say as questionable – as our need for friction: If we want to walk, or when we find we are unable to keep our feet, then we will see our need for friction.” Stanley Cavell, This New Yet Unapproachable America, p. 55

Meditation on the Body — Against Information

“The disagreements concerning friendship are not few. Some posit friendship as being a likeness of some sort and friends to be men who are alike; hence the sayings ‘like as like’, ‘birds of a feather flock together’, and other such. Others take the contrary position and say ‘two of a trade never agree’. Still others seek causes for these things which are higher and more physical, like Euripides, who says, ‘parched earth loves rain, and lofty heaven filled with rain loves to fall to earth’…” Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics, Book 8, translated by Hippocrates G. Apostle.

“All things are woven together and all things are undone again; all things are mingled together and all things combine; and all things unite and all things separate; all things are moistened and all things are dried; and all things flourish and all things fade in the bowl of the altar. For each thing comes to pass with method and in fixed measure and by exact weighing of the four elements. The weaving together of things and the undoing of all things and the whole fabric of things cannot come to pass without method. The method is a natural one, preserving due order in its inhaling and its exhaling; it brings increase and it brings decrease. And to sum up: through the harmonies of separating and combining, and if nothing of the method be neglected, all things bring forth nature. For nature applied to nature transforms nature. Such is the order of natural law throughout the whole cosmos, and thus all things hang together.” Zosimos of Panopolis, On Excellence III.i.4, quoted in Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 13: Alchemical Studies.

Meditation on the Body — After Hala Mohammad

“Oh, Swallow / As you depart our spring / slow down. / In the wood / burner’s exhaust pipe / as the firewood came inside, / you forgot your echo.” from Hala Mohammad’s “The Swallow.” Available at Writing Without Paper Poets of Protest series

Robert Farrell lives and works in the Bronx, New York. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Brooklyn Review, NOON: journal of the short poem, REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters, The Santa Fe Literary Review, Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies and elsewhere. His chapbook, Meditations on the Body, is forthcoming from Ghostbird Press. Originally from Houston, Texas, he’s a librarian at Lehman College, CUNY.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.