Some say that nothing can be known for sure,
suggesting all we think we know is wrong.
The power of the argument is strong,
but that’s the measure of it – nothing more.
It sets no obligation to ignore
our skills of observation. They belong
to us intrinsically, as art and song
have shown: we humans at our very core.
So if the world appears to be mundane
and all the best is stale, or somewhat droll,
then learn as if there’s everything to learn.
Whatever you discover, more remains,
as if you went out one day for a stroll
and just kept walking, never to return.
How we Renaissed
Some like to think it starts with Gutenberg,
as if the mere invention of his press
were all it took to wipe the medieval
world away – edited, you might say,
down to a footnote. Why not? Who’s to claim
it wasn’t in the surprise domestication
of the word, except for the simple fact
that most could still not read it, yet? But had
their eyes, quite good enough to see emerge
the paintings, sculptures… Not to mention ears
to hear the new thoughts argued, if obliging
the mind to plough with a hardier kind of ox
the fields of enquiry brought now into play,
and in its quizzical furrows sow not seed
but some fresh hybrid, sprung from ancient grain.
Span Hanna is a former South Australian who has been living in Victoria since 2001. He is the editor of an English-language fortnightly publication (Modern Asian), provided free to the Asian community in Victoria. He worked as a teacher for more than 20 years, and lived in China for four years. See two more of Hanna’s poems in last week’s Poet’s Corner.