Be What You Are

Be what you are, he
told the prince, and compared him-
self to a cork in

the waves holding up
a net packed with fish. Fifty
years ago in fog-

gy downtown Boston
from a shop window I caught
the name: Pindar. O,

the light foot hears you
(Duncan). Horace’s bee on
Olympic heights. It

changed my life. But now
‘Be what you are’ is nibbled
to death by sophists.

Praised not understood,
his complex simplicity
and deft charm remain

to be revealed. That
gray monograph, that foggy
day are my touchstones.

Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Cranston RI and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at and other sites.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: