Oct 192010

After Reading Heidegger and Seeing a Dead Rat

By Jacob Glover


Being is not naught, but will be.
I saw it in a rat on a driveway
A few days into fall,
A rat, what had been a rat, but
Now was not naught, but
Something not being.
The rat had had being but now it
Had cold and stiff darkness
On a driveway a few days into fall.
Surrounded by Being, in Being,
That which was rat, was no longer being.
Time was, being was in that Rat.
Time was, Being was that rat, as that rat
Was being.
But now, Being is not naught, it is gone,
From this rat, anyway, so it might as well be.

  18 Responses to “After Reading Heidegger and Seeing a Dead Rat: Poem — Jacob Glover”

  1. Alas, poor Mickey! I knew him well.

    To be or not to be. . . .

  2. from “Report from the Besieged City”

    I write as I can in the rhythm of interminable weeks
    monday: empty storehouses a rat became the unit of currency

    Zbigniew Herbert

    full poem here:


  3. The Rat: he goes the way of us all. Your poem, dude, SO gets that/gets AT that.

  4. dg reminded me today of a picture I posted on Facebook on August 11, of a rat my one-year-old daughter and I ran into on the sidewalk. If you’re my Facebook friend (or want to become my Facebook friend) you can take a look, but the gist is this: we were on a leisurely morning walk, and we saw a jogger in front of us look down, then about jump out of his sneakers. On closer inspection, we saw that it was seemingly dead rat, but my daughter kept pointing at it and I noticed it was breathing. It was a very hot day, and it wasn’t dead, just tired. It looked up at us as I took a picture, then got up gingerly and sauntered under the shade of someone’s stoop.

  5. It seems that the only rats that appear in these pages are dead. This is too bad. I have a certain nostalgia for rats (the albino kind), since they helped me with my M.S. in psychology, lo these many years ago.

  6. Could be one of them (there were several). Cute, isn’t he?

  7. Stephen Jay Gould, in his essay “A Biological Homage to Mickey Mouse,” traces the evolution of the rodent’s appearance from his decidedly rat-like features in the beginning to the rounder, “cuter,” and more acceptable Mickey we know today, drawing on the theories of Konrad Lorenz.

    We need a cartoon. We haven’t seen a cartoon in a long time. Note how Mickey plays the cat, the goose, and especially the pig.


  8. Let them mickey about as they will, Jacob. Fall has fallen on the driveway and naked man shriven from eternity shivers before the implacable unbeing of rat.

  9. Perhaps a resonant glimpse into the tormented emotions inhabiting pour little Richard Farrell’s soul* all those year ago. Oh, wait….those were baby mice, not rats.

    *The Soul’s Habitation: Techniques for Depicting and Evoking Emotion, VCFA Graduate Lecture by Richard Farrell, Winter, 2011

  10. Thank you Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.

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