Questions Concerning Aristotle’s Tomb by Manash Bhattacharjee

Photograph: Giovanni Dall'Orto

An archaeologist in Greece unearths Aristotle’s
Tomb; others dispute the evidence.
If Aristotle’s ideas are consulted, the archaeologist
Needs to prove, the tomb’s where he claims it,
Not anywhere else. If that is too much,
He would fail the philosopher’s test.
Archaeology asks for proof, philosophy asks
For conviction. The archaeologist
Better satisfy one of them.

It is an ideal wish, a man’s beliefs
Reflect on his grave. But we aren’t living
Ideal times, where an Aristotle
Puts “trust” over “truth”, accepts
Man’s labour of love.

Greece, once a hub of rhetoricians,
Had Aristotle writing,
“A likely impossibility is always preferable
To an unconvincing possibility.”
Will measuring a man’s claim, in the light
Of this statement, lead us anywhere?
In this world, where reality has turned graver
Than death, will such a dispute,
Rhetorically, serve the question Aristotle
Asked — how best to live?

by Manash Bhattacharjee