Nietzsche’s Walks He walked a lot—a lot. His busy mind no doubt would focus on philosophy as he strode forward—but he was not blind to everything around him. He would see nature in all its glory: towering trees to tiny blades of grass; birds in the sky and clouds billowing, scudding in the breeze above the earth. The endless questions—Why? and Whence?—would spoil his leisure. Everything demanded explanation. Genesis was myth; yet when he heard a songbird sing it seemed a poem, a psalm with full intent and not a mating call. It was a song; a function, yes, of course; but beautiful— (and what was beauty?); still, would it be wrong to think that both existed and could pull the soul into thoughts of sublimity and loveliness. Signal sent through the air? There must be more. Somehow, there had to be a place for beauty. It was everywhere and rose to soar past explanation’s reach. An attribution of transcendence seemed completely logical—and to impeach the idea of beauty—which redeemed existence from a mechanistic frame with stimuli and functionality its only attribute—this seemed a shame no one could face; to look at it and see only a trick of light produced within the eye by chemicals; the scent of pine response of sensors in the nose; the wind perceived by nerve endings that told the mind a fact of nature. Beauty was exiled by reasoning! No way it could be so! And yet it seemed to be. He was beguiled by what he felt and what he’d come to know.
David W. Landrum lives in Grand Rapids Michigan and is retired from Grand Valley State University. His poetry has appeared widely in literary journals for many years. His latest publications include two poems on the War in Ukraine in a volume titled Busy Griefs, Raw Towns, made up of selections by West Michigan poets, the proceeds of which go to relief efforts in that conflict.