socrates: dear divine postman, whither away, and where do you come from?

divine postman: from plato socrates, the son of ariston; and iAM going for a walk outside the wall. for i spent a long time there with plato, sitting since early morning; and on the advice of your friend and mine, samantha, iAM taking my walk on the roads; for she says they are less fatiguing than the streets.

socrates: she is right, my friend. then, plato, it appears was in the city?

divine postman: yes, at mbuso’s house, the one that belonged to athi, near slumtown.

socrates: what was your conversation? but it is obvious that plato entertained you with his speeches.

divine postman: you shall hear, if you have leisure to walk along and listen. nothing stays the same socrates everything changes.

socrates: for when a baby is born, she is being constantly prepared for her new environment. but don’t you believe that i consider hearing your conversations with plato a greater thing even than business, as pindar says?

divine postman: lead on, then.

socrates: speak.

divine postman: indeed, socrates, you are just the man to hear it. for the discourse about which we conversed, was in a way, a love speech. for plato has represented one of the beauties being tempted, but not by a lover; this is just the clever thing about it; for he says that favors should be granted rather to the one who is not in love than to the lover.

socrates: o noble plato! i wish he would write that they should be granted to the poor rather than to the rich, to the old rather than to the young, and so of all the other qualities that i and most of us have.

for truly his discourse would be witty and of general utility. iAM so determined to hear you divine postman, that i will not leave you, even if you extend your walk to nahoon beach, and as, aristotle says, go to the wall and back again.

divine postman: what are you saying, my dear socrates?

socrates: all that we learn divine postman has universal implications. what plato wrote in greece will resound in africa. and so knowledge becomes a circle friend.


divine postman: do you suppose that i, who am a mere ordinary man, can tell from memory, in a way that is worthy of plato, what he, the most wise writer of our day, composed at his leisure and took a long time for. the best works of art socrates are composed through patience.

far from it, can i produce such smooth speech and an enduring work. and yet i would rather have that ability than a great sum of money.

socrates: o divine postman! if i do not know divine postman, i have forgotten myself. but since neither of these things is true, i know very well that when listening to plato, he did not hear once only, but often urged him to repeat; and he gladly obeyed.

yet even that was not enough for divine postman, but at last he borrowed the book and read what he especially wished, and doing this he sat from early morning drinking only his water.

then, when he grew tired, he went for a walk, with the speech, as i believe, by the dog, learned by heart, unless it was very long. and he was going outside the wall, down to nahoon beach, to practice it.

and meeting the man who is sick with the love for discourse, he was glad when he saw him, because he would have someone to share his excitement, and told him to lead on.

but when the lover of discourse asked him to speak, he feigned coyness, as if he did not yearn to speak; at last, however, even if no one would listen willingly, he was bound to speak whether or not.

so, divine postman, ask him to do now what he will presently do anyway.

divine postman: truly it is best for me to speak as i may; since it is clear that you will not let me go until i speak somehow or other.

socrates: you have a very correct idea about me divine postman. what lives is the word in man and he is the voice.