My Favorite Poems

C. K. Williams: :The Singing: “I was walking home down a hill near our house on a balmy afternoon under the blossoms of the pear trees that go flamboyantly mad here every spring with their burgeoning forth when a young man turned in from a corner singing. No. It was more of a cadent shouting most of which I couldn’t catch. I thought because the young man was black, speaking black, it didn’t matter. I could tell he was making his song up, which pleased me. He was nice looking, husky, dressed in some style of big pants, obviously full of himself, hence his lyrical flowing over. We went along in the same direction and he noticed me there almost beside him and “Big” he shouted, sang, “Big,” and I thought how droll to have my height incorporated in his song so I smiled but the face of the young man showed nothing. He looked in fact pointedly away and his song changed. “I’m not a nice person,” he chanted. “I’m not. I’m not a nice person.” No menace was meant I gathered, no particular threat, but he did want to be certain I knew that if my smile implied I conceived of anything like concord between us I should forget it. That’s all. Nothing else happened. His song became indecipherable to me again. He arrived where he was going, a house where a girl in braids waited for him on the porch. That was all. No one saw. No one heard. All of the unasked and unanswered questions were left where they were. It occurred to me to sing back, “I am not a nice person either,” but I couldn’t come up with a tune. Besides, I wouldn’t have meant it nor he had believed it. Both of us knew just where we were and the duet we composed, the equation we made, the conventions to which we were condemned. Sometimes it feels even when no one is there that someone, something, is watching and listening, someone to rectify, redo, remake. This time again though no one saw nor heard. No one was there.”

 

Williams talks about his favorite poem, The Foundation, and reads one of his other favorite poems, The Singing.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Believe in soulmates? You're more likely to 'ghost' romantic partners.

Does believing in true love make people act like jerks?

Thought Catalog via Unsplash
Sex & Relationships
  • Ghosting, or cutting off all contact suddenly with a romantic partner, is not nice.
  • Growth-oriented people (who think relationships are made, not born) do not appreciate it.
  • Destiny-oriented people (who believe in soulmates) are more likely to be okay with ghosting.
Keep reading Show less

Why is 18 the age of adulthood if the brain can take 30 years to mature?

Neuroscience research suggests it might be time to rethink our ideas about when exactly a child becomes an adult.

Mind & Brain
  • Research suggests that most human brains take about 25 years to develop, though these rates can vary among men and women, and among individuals.
  • Although the human brain matures in size during adolescence, important developments within the prefrontal cortex and other regions still take pace well into one's 20s.
  • The findings raise complex ethical questions about the way our criminal justice systems punishes criminals in their late teens and early 20s.
Keep reading Show less