Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Quadrivium

Last year when I was reading Josef Pieper's Leisure:  The Basis of Culture with an online book club, I ran across the following poem and saved it for sharing during National Poetry Month.

Currently, the group is hashing out their
philosoph(ies) of education as they read Norms and Nobility by David Hicks.

While I havent made it much past reading the acknowledgements and perusing the bibliography of the paperback edition, I have found this poem to be a propos.  the discussion.

I also appreciate its logic.

Science begins in brain;
Philosophy begins in mind;
Poetry begins in ear and mouth;
Religion begins in breath.

For science to say anything about life, it must experiment;
for philosophy to say anything about life, it must exhaust words;
for poetry to say anything about life, it must listen;
for religion to say anything about life, it must fall on its face.

Where science ends, philosophy begins;
where philosophy ends, poetry begins;
where poetry ends, death begins;
where death ends, religion begins.

By Allan Roy Andrews

Here's a link to the poet's blog.

The poem appeared originally in Voice, a newsletter of St. Martin's-in-the-Field Episcopal Church, Severna Park, MD, February 2002.

Definition/Etymology of Quadrivium:

The higher division of the seven liberal arts in the Middle Ages, composed of geometry, astronomy, arithmetic, and music.

[Late Latin, from Latin, place where four roads meet : quadri-, quadri- + via, road; see via.]


  1. I can fix buttermilk; it didn't sound too hard....

  2. That poem is philosophical excursion. Thank you.