Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Wittgenstein: A Micro-Biography

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Wittgenstein: A Micro-Biography

Article excerpt

The young man detested their silly giggling in the cafes.

Bright ribbons fluttered in the usual girls' hair.

Psychoanalysts passed in silken, black carriages.

Assassination and hemophilia troubled the empire.

A new theory of light drove him into cold, dim rooms.

He stood on a corner in Vienna and felt inches shorter.

A horse snorted. The new century severed time like an ax.

"Reality begets language!" he cried to no one.

That same reality betrayed him. He never smiled,

stroked a severe violin as his brothers killed themselves.

His youthful decorum hardened into zeal

and he listened for breathing beneath the ink.

He imagined words so refined they split throats

even as safer, more prudent words floated

through his mind like balloons. …

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