My Thoughts Laid Bear 

“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going
along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering” —Winnie the Pooh

I like to mull. I like to muse. I like perusing others’ views.
Philosophers, I’ve read a few (a Sartre, Nietzsche, Lao-Tzu brew)—
I much prefer the Tao of Pooh. My mind’s attuned to Winnie.

I briefly toyed with Sigmund Freud—a kinky trip most folks avoid.
The id and ego (just one sniff) are apt to leave synapses stiff.
I pine for Pooh—a waft, a whiff—a welcome breath of Winnie.

When I have Rousseau on my plate, I ruminate and cogitate.
Jean-Jacque’s tacks are tough to chew. I feast on finds but find no clue.
I hunger for a scoop of Pooh. My tastes align with Winnie.

I skimmed the grim Darwinian path: pond-scum and its aftermath—
Simian roots, could this be true? Did life arise from soupy goo?
I’d rather sink my head in Pooh. My missing link is Winnie.

Confucius, Locke, and Socrates all drown me in sagacious seas.
Jung’s reams of dreams, they make me blue, and Camus leaves me in a stew.
I plan to cram my brain with Pooh—my joy depends on Winnie.

First published in Snakeskin



Susan Jarvis Bryant has poetry published on Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, Light, Sparks of Calliope, and Expansive Poetry Online. She also has poetry published in TRINACRIA, Beth Houston’s Extreme Formal Poems anthology, and in Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets in the UK). Susan is the winner of the 2020 International SCP Poetry Competition, and has been nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize.

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24 Responses

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you, Michael… think, think, think while it’s still legal 😉

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      What a wonderful comment, Russel… I’d like to think my little Pooh poem would put a smile on the great author’s face.

  1. Cynthia Erlandson

    This is an exquisite combination of brilliance and innocence. Pooh is a wonderful poet, and we all need to return occasionally to “When We Were Very Young.”

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Cynthia, in this grueling grown-up world, you are spot on with your returning to “When We Were Very Young” observation and I love the way the words ‘brilliance and innocence’ dance together… what a great title for a book – ‘Songs of Brilliance and Innocence”. Thank you very much.

  2. Brian Yapko

    Susan, an absolutely spectacular romp through Philosophy 101! I’m fascinated by the structure of this poem with its lengthy lines in triplets and its reveling dependence on internal rhymes. I also love the message which, for all your playfulness, is in some ways a serious one — to what extent does intellectualism sabotage our childlike joy and innocence? Your answer is quite decisive and delightful. Forgive my uninnocent, scatological mind, but — given your “whiff” “scoop” and “sinking of your head” into it, I think your cheeky repetitions of the name “Pooh” may serve a double purpose in really laying out the exceptional extent to which you’d rather not be dragged down by those stuffy, sometimes alarming, philosophers. Wonderful stuff!

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Brian, as ever, you have my poetry pegged. The double purpose of Pooh had me laughing out loud as I penned this poem… philosophy should come with soupçon of Pooh to keep everything in perspective – the skid marks from the tires of time will prove me right.

      As for the structure, I stole parts of this nonce form from John Whitworth. I think I’ve gone much wilder with the internal rhymes and altered it a bit, but the basic idea is still there. Sometimes a form grabs me, and I simply have to try it… my way.

      Thank you very much for your continued support and your wonderful comment.

  3. Margaret Coats

    Susan, I love your discovery of the missing link. Who would have thought of Pooh? And I’m glad to arrive after Brian’s explication, as I too consider logical double meanings of words in a poem. For the most part, your choice of philosophers confirms his reading of this clever piece.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Margaret, thank you for your lovely comment… it seems more and more obvious as time goes on that the missing link boils down to Pooh – a simple explanation that sheds much light on Darwin’s theory. 😉

  4. Sally Cook

    Dear Susan –
    Love your descriptions of what Pooh isn’t, wasn’t and shouldn’t be !

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Dear Sally – you have it in a nutshell, and that’s exactly why this bear of little brain makes so much sense to me… the more complex and ornate the subject matter gets, the more likely I am to reach for the bear bones of the matter. Thank you for your fine eye and wonderful outlook.

  5. Norma Pain

    I really enjoyed this wonderful, clever poem Susan. Thank you for making me laugh out loud this morning.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Norma, it always thrills me to hear I have made someone laugh out loud. Laughter from a fine poet of your comedic talents is a blessing. Thank you very much indeed!

  6. C.B. Anderson

    I, too, have no more time for the philosophers you mentioned by name, but I haven’t quite warmed up to Winnie. My taste leans toward Karl Popper and R.G. Collingwood.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Mike’s familiar with Karl Popper and now you’ve both whetted my appetite. I’m not familiar with the works of Collingwood, but I’m interested. Thank you.

      Winnie has been cast aside briefly to make way for ‘The Terror of Existence: From Ecclesiastes to Theatre of the Absurd’ by Theodore Dalrymple (I’m a huge fan of his) and Kenneth Francis. I’m reading it for the second time – it’s that good.

  7. Shaun C. Duncan

    “Pond scum and its aftermath” is a wonderful summation of the Darwinian view of life. The form and content of this poem work beautifully together and while it does have an air of innocence about it, it’s quite sly and pointed in its critique. I kind of wish it was longer and a few more philosophers were splattered with Pooh, but realistically the length is perfect as is.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you very much, Shaun. I had the most fun with the Darwin verse. You are right on the air-of-innocence front… innocence is just a surface veneer brushed lightly over the cynical sneer smoldering beneath… how naughty I am! I also wanted to go on and on. I have so much to say on philosophy and Pooh, but I reined myself in. I’m glad you think it’s the right length… however, I won’t rule out a Pooh 2. 😉

  8. Joshua C. Frank

    Susan, this is another great one! I completely understand, having tried various philosophers and preferring Pooh myself. Your assessments of them are spot on, especially the line about “pond scum and it’s aftermath.”

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you very much, Josh. The more I dip into the murky waters of philosophy, the less clear the meaning of life becomes… especially if it’s pond scum I’m dipping into. I’m thrilled you enjoyed my quirky humor.

  9. Jeff Eardley

    Susan, I drink, therefore I am, (Monty Python’s philosophers song) Worth a YouTube. This is a great piece of fun today, thank you.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Jeff, I cannot believe I’ve never heard Monty Python’s hilarious song. Thank you very much for alerting me to it. It definitely outshines my poem and I simply have to share it. Thank you kindly, Mr. Eardley!
      Immanuel Kant was a real pissant
      Who was very rarely stable
      Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar
      Who could think you under the table
      David Hume could out-consume
      Wilhelm Freidrich Hegel
      And Wittgenstein was a beery swine
      Who was just as schloshed as Schlegel
      There’s nothing Nietzsche couldn’t teach ya
      ‘Bout the raising of the wrist
      Socrates, himself, was permanently pissed
      John Stuart Mill, of his own free will
      On half a pint of shandy was particularly ill
      Plato, they say, could stick it away
      Half a crate of whiskey every day
      Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle
      Hobbes was fond of his dram
      And Rene Descartes was a drunken fart
      “I drink, therefore I am.”
      Yes, Socrates himself is particularly missed
      A lovely little thinker, but a bugger when he’s pissed

  10. David Whippman

    Well penned, Susan. Any poem in praise of that bear and his friends gets a thumbs up from me, but yours is clever into the bargain.

  11. Gary Borck

    I don’t know how I missed this gem. Wonderfully and cleverly written, Susan. On top of that a lively and powerful reading. You did a great job with your smooth reading of a text with challenging names to pronounce. Well done.


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