Learning How To Spar With Wisdom In Simon Drew’s Powerful Poet & The Sage

Philosophy comes in many shapes, forms, roads and paths. All these directions lead to the same direction: the pursuit of wisdom. Of finding ways to be better. Of getting to know yourself and others a little better every day.

It’s this pursuit of wisdom that informs Simon Drew’s The Poet & The Sage, a book that dives deep into the essence of philosophy and invites you to find your own meaning.

Philosophical poetry and prose

The Poet & The Sage has multiple layers and in its simplest form the book is a collection of poetry and prose that is inspired by philosophy. Drew focuses on the relationship between a young poet on the hunt for wisdom and a wise sage who constantly challenges them to find the heart of true wisdom.

Drew’s writing style is dream-like and emotive, guiding the reader down the path in the same way the sage is guiding the poet. This ties into the origins of the book, with Drew getting the idea from a waking dream he had (which does appear on the page) and wanting to expand it into something more.

The use of archaic, esoteric language makes The Poet & The Sage sometimes feel like a series of prayers. Other times it feels like a call to action, the narrator demanding more from the poet and the reader too.

Here’s an example:

And in an hour of weakness,

Mid a dark and lonely night

He hears a voice from Heaven:

‘Thou’ve one dragon yet to fight’

For ego becomes thee,

And for thee, she’s made a bed

And thou’ve been sleeping with her

And by her, thou hath been fed

It brought to mind the analogy Seneca uses about being a patient in a hospital bed. Philosophy is a place of medicine and we’re all patients trying to help each other heal rather than being prescribed anything by a doctor and The Poet & The Sage homes in on this medical theme.

An impressive flow of themes

There are several reoccurring themes throughout The Poet & The Sage, told through the conversations the poet has with their mentor and others. Drew wants us to keep on digging for our own kind of wisdom throughout the book and tap into a substructure of humanity that can be transformational.

Stoic metaphors and an emphasis are threaded through the pages, with references to the Logos and living in accordance with nature coming up from the depths. These themes are backed by the essence of wrestling and fighting, with the poet seeking to spar with wisdom and keep returning for more.

The importance of mentorship can’t be overstated. Drew’s work has been influenced by Sharon Lebell and there’s a sense that he is the poet and she is the sage that has been guiding him. It may inspire you to go out and find your own mentor once you’ve finished reading the book.

Beautiful and thought-provoking, The Poet & The Sage is a perspective challenger. A book that can be read in a thousand different ways and keep you returning to find something new like the poet on the page.

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