A feather tale

“This feather may look worthless, but it comes from afar and it carries with it all my good intentions.”

Amy Tan, the Joy Luck Club

The feather Amy Tan describes is a swan feather, the sole reminder of a swan that was carried from China and wasn’t allowed into the United States. Her character kept the feather as a token. The paradox appealed to me. One swan feather looks exactly like another; nothing Chinese about it. Only the story remains.

Mirrored, by aussiegall from sydney, Australia (Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://cc.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

Mirrored, by aussiegall from sydney, Australia (Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://cc.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D

Here, at pipteinpteron, you might catch a falling feather. It may seem worthless, or not. At best, this blog will start you musing. The writer’s quill is powerful, but who said I was a writer?

This won’t get personal and it won’t get opinionated. I’m looking for those fragments of knowledge that spark a thought, open your eyes or make you feel like flying, if only for a moment. Just imagine how:

“What opposes, unites.” Heraclitus DK 8

I’m delighted to see the many translations of ancient texts on the internet. Many people spend their time creating these sites, making the work of philosophers like Heraclitus more accessible than ever before. So that’s all good. Or is it?

“Your invention [of writing] will enable them to hear many things without being properly taught, and they will imagine that they have come to know much while for the most part they will know nothing. And they will be difficult to get along with, since they will merely appear to be wise instead of really being so.” Plato, Phaedrus

Maybe a genuine interest in philosophy means you read closely, and read again. And then you write about it. And hopefully, someone reads you.

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11 thoughts on “A feather tale

  1. Pingback: Haiku: Amy’s Thoughts and Swan Feathers | Bastet and Sekhmet

  2. I’m late in making my compliments to you! What a wonderful image…feathers…swan feathers no less…I must write a Haiku! Love how you write and happy to see you here.

  3. This reminded me of a recent Dr Who story, in which a young girl , Clara, has a leaf left from her parents. Her mother died when she was young but the leaf was of the day her mother and father met. Her father used to describe it as “the most important leaf in the world” saying that had it not been for the leaf falling out of the tree, at that very moment in time, he may have never met her mother. She had kept it with her always as…”treasure”.
    She gives that leaf to a “being” who desires and preys upon the memories of others.
    with this speech….
    “Clara: Still hungry? Well I’ve brought something for you. This. The most important leaf in human history. The most important leaf in human history! It’s full of stories, full of history. Full of a future that never got lived, days that should have been but never were. Passed onto me. This leaf isn’t just the past, it’s a whole future that never happened. There are millions and millions of unlived days but every day we live an infinity. All the days that never came, and these were my mum’s.” (short story short, the beast explodes because an infinity of memories, (those which never occurred) was too much)

    • Thank you for your comment, Holly! What a brilliant story. I really like it. “Full of a future that never got lived…” It complements Amy Tan’s feather story really well. 🙂
      After reading your comment, I suddenly realised there’s a recurring theme there: a feather, a leaf that is kept and weighed down by meaning. Petrarca’s poems for Laura that survived when his marble tomb did not, the aphorisms of Nietzsche that people know by heart without realising they’re his…I guess I’ll go on blogging for a while, yet. 😉

  4. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Reinvention and change are necessary for us to advance, i.e. stay the same. This thought occurred to me as I ran to avoid the tropical deluge here in Saigon. Nothing will ever cure me of these places and they form a deep backdrop to all I write. I’m delighted to see the Amy’s feathers float by here. Good luck with the new blank slate.

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