Philosophia Perennis

By Anne Waldman b. 1945 Anne Waldman
I turned: quivering yellow stars in blackness   
I wept: how speech may save a woman
The picture changes & promises the heroine   
That nighttime & meditation are a mirage

To discuss pro & contra here is mute
Do I not love you, day?
A pure output of teleological intentions
& she babbles, developing a picture-theory of language

Do I not play the delicate game of language?   
yes, & it is antecedent to the affairs of the world:   
The dish, the mop, the stove, the bed, the marriage   
& surges forth the world in which I love

I and I and I and I and I and I, infinitely reversible   
Yet never secure in the long morning texture
A poor existing woman-being, accept her broken heart   
& yet the earth is divinity, the sky is divinity
The nomads walk & walk.

Anne Waldman, “Philosophia Perennis” from Helping the Dreamer: Selected Poems, 1966-1988. Copyright © 1989 by Anne Waldman. Reprinted with the permission of Coffee House Press, Minneapolis,

Source: Helping the Dreamer: Selected Poems 1966-1988 (Coffee House Press, 1989)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Anne Waldman b. 1945

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School (2nd Generation)

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Philosophy

 Anne  Waldman


The author of more than 40 collections of poetry and poetics, Anne Waldman is an active member of the Outrider experimental poetry movement, and has been connected to the Beat movement and the second generation of the New York School. Her publications include Fast Speaking Woman (1975), Marriage: A Sentence (2000), and the multi-volume Iovis project (1992, 1993, 1997).

Her work as a cultural activist and her practice of Tibetan . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Philosophy

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School (2nd Generation)

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.