Friday, October 31, 2008

Poetry Friday -- Questionnaire

I was trying to find a poem about the rewards we choose to bestow upon ourselves for a week or two (or four or six) of continuous hard work.  A poem about Cheetos or peanut M&Ms or a day in bed or coveted electronics.  I was hoping to find poetic justification for dropping a wad of cash on a toy I that don't really have time to play with, but whose sleek and elegant design makes me happy just to hold it in my hand. 

Instead, I found this poem.  Before you read it, go outside and get a colorful fall leaf upon which to write your answers.  After you are done, toss the leaf to the autumn winds and watch it fly away.

by Charles Bernstein

Directions: For each pair of sentences, circle the letter, a or b, that best
expresses your viewpoint. Make a selection from each pair. Do not omit
any items.

1.a) The body and the material things of the world are the key to any
knowledge we can possess.
b) Knowledge is only possible by means of the mind or psyche.

2.a) My life is largely controlled by luck and chance.
b) I can determine the basic course of my life.

3.a) Nature is indifferent to human needs.
b) Nature has some purpose, even if obscure.

4.a) I can understand the world to a sufficient extent.
b) The world is basically baffling.

5.a) Love is the greatest happiness.
b) Love is illusionary and its pleasures transient.

6.a) Political and social action can improve the state of the world.
b) Political and social action are fundamentally futile.

The rest of the Questionnaire is here.
The round up is at Poetry for Children (even though mine is not).


  1. What great food for thought! Some pairs had me really struggling to decide, while others, such as "Love is the greatest happiness" seemed no contest. I had always thought art was not political, but as stated, that it can change events, I guess it can be. Cool idea for a poem!

  2. The best part of the quiz is throwing the answers to the wind - (then it really doesn't matter which we chose) Lovely day for it too!

    I played with an iPod Touch this week :) and had to give it back :(

  3. I love Bernstein and this provocative format. Thanks for sharing and thanks for participating in Poetry Friday at PoetryforChildren this Halloween! Stop by any time...

  4. Anonymous10:51 AM

    Great idea. Will do later today. perfect day for leaf throwing.

  5. I got an iPod touch "free" this summer when I purchased my new laptop. I can't find time to take it out of its box. How sad is that!!!


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