Student or Learner
I found the expression in a story. It tells that a ship was sinking, and all the passengers on board were busy gathering their luggage except one poet. When one asked him why, he said "All my possessions are about me."
I feel the preposition "about" odd in this sentence. Is it properly used in this context? And are there other prepositions fit for the context as well? Thanks!
About is apt here as he was trying to say that he doesnt have a luggage means all his possessions are about him (the things belonged to him)
You can replace "about" with "on" or "around". If he was actually surrounded by his luggage, then his possessions would be "around" him. If his possessions are in his pockets, then they are "on" him. We use the word to mean that we are carrying something. For example "Do you have your wallet on you?" means "Are you carrying your wallet?" or similar.
However, in the case of the poet in your original example, it is possible that he is suggesting that he needs nothing except himself (and his poetic mind). He is saying that he is already carrying everything he needs.
Roseriver, please be a little more patient. You posted your question at 2am (British time) and then chased it up at 8am (British time). On this side of the Atlantic, I imagine we were all asleep! Remember the time difference when you post. In addition, it is Easter weekend so many people are away or busy with family stuff so this might be a very quiet few days. It's a public holiday in the UK today and again on Monday, with a weekend in between. I imagine things will get back to normal on Tuesday.
Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.
Please note I'm not a teacher nor a native speaker.
Thought that story is very familiar. So I did some online digging. It's Aesop's fable XXI: the shipwreck of Simonides. I'll just list here for your attention perhaps curiosity three different translations. I hope they are in chronological order.
But one more curious, ask'd the seer,
"Poet, have you got nothing here ?"
"My all," says he, "is what I am."
"I plainly told you all," he cried,
"That all my wealth was in myself;
As for your chattels and your pelf.
On which ye did so much depend,
They're come to nothing in the end."
One who was over inquisitive, remarked: Are you going to save none of your property, Simonides? He made reply: All my possessions are about me.
Simonides chanced to meet them; and, as soon as he saw them, remarked: I told you that all my property was about me; what you endeavoured to save is lost.
A passenger who was more curious than the rest asked the poet, 'Simonides, why aren't you taking along any of your own stuff?' He replied, 'All that is mine is right here with me.'
When Simonides happened to run into them, he took one look and exclaimed, 'Just as I said: all that is mine is right here with me, but everything that you took with you has now vanished.'