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Question by miscalzones: What in the world is a metaphysical poem and how do you write one?
Umm in my British Literature class I’m supposed to write a metaphysical poem.
I’m a foreign student and I never learned what that was in my country, so could you guys help me please? thank you guys.

Best answer:

Answer by Whortleberry
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy that investigates principles of reality transcending those of any particular science. Cosmology and ontology are traditional branches of metaphysics. It is concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world.[1] Someone who studies metaphysics would be called either a “metaphysician”[2] or a “metaphysicist.”[3]

(The above is courtesy of Wikipedia.)

What kind of teacher assigns a poem on metaphysics? Oh, I get it. A sadistic teacher.

Okay, here is a metaphysical poem — on the nature of being, remember? And this one has to get a blue-ribbon pedigree, as it is from dear ol’ Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Ready? Here goes:

To be, or not to be, that is the question.
whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or, to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And, by opposing, end them. To die,
To sleep, no more; And by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to; Tis a consumnation devoutly to be wished….
To die, to sleep — aye, there’s the respect that makes
Calamity of so long a life. For who would bear
The whips and scorns of time.
The proud man’s contumely, the law’s delay,
The whips and spurns that patience bears,
But that fear of something after death,
That undiscovered country from whose bourne
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And the native hue of resolution is sicklied o’er
With the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.

If you decide to turn this in, you might be wise to check it agains “Hamlet’s soliloquy” in Wikipedia or some such place — I learned this in 8th grade and may have slipped up in a couple of spots –8th grade was a looooooooooong time ago.

Anyway, good metaphysical luck!

What do you think? Answer below!

One Response to What in the world is a metaphysical poem and how do you write one?

  • artful says:

    A metaphysical poem is one like those written by the “metaphysical” poets of the 17th Century. John Donne and Andrew Marvell come to mind. They tended to use “conceits.” A conceit is a metaphor (possibly a simile) that takes a big leap of imagination and a lot of explanation, to piece together. Read Donne’s A Valediction Forbidding Mourning and examine the conceit of the two stiff compasses or Marvell’s To His Coy Mistress and the conceit of the sun being ripped with rough strife through the iron bars of life. The Metaphysical poets had little to do with the branch of philosophy known as metaphysics.

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