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Saturday, June 01, 2013

Science of Poetry: Trembling on the Edge of Meaning

 Taquamenon Falls, Michigan

 This week I wrote a poem about stuff, one stuff of which was Taquamenon Falls, and I finished with:
... every drop of falling water
is canonized ecology haunting to
our daedal palimpsest nostalgia!

and it was a bit of a tussle to write what I wanted to say.

"canonized" has hues of holiness,
"haunting" intimates spirit movement,
"daedal" is for intricate workmanship,
"palimpsest" means rewritten, reused, written over, and reeks of novelty over antiquity,
"nostalgia" literally mean homecoming + pain;

and the idea of a holy quest of return to well-constructed homes, which we miss greatly, and where we shall start things over anew.
I don't say this straight forward, but I do not try to obscure. Rather, I try to mix the meanings together and make a new whole which will carry the meaning in a new way.

I am not saying I succeeded in this, and that the poem is a great poem, but I did experience quite a feeling of sudden clarity. It was exactly the same feeling I get when I am reading or speaking a new language, and suddenly the sounds and movements of the speech muscles come together in a feeling of understanding that is deep and profound and seems to be like jumping into the world with a totally new seeing and breathing and smelling and touching.

I think that poetry is this trembling on the edge of meaning.
Meaning is in motion and it reminds me of Brownian motion, random flickering, until a quick collapse into a shining seeing when one says "aha!"
As in the poem for Mothers' Day day, there was "... so much all-utterly song" which is a English language novelty that requires not a piecemeal pecking at, but a meditative embrace that gathers in one all the meaning, feelings, and emotions of the expression.

The difference between Shelley and a limerick lay in the one is filled with potential to deeply understand reality and the other is rather straight forward and has little potential beyond what is immediate and obvious.

I think that if the phenomenon were to be studied in the lab, the areas of the brain engaged in reading good poetry would be the same as those used by learners of a new language, who are finding new things everywhere - like children just learning - and who have not yet fallen into the rut of everyday usage and the mundane chatter of media.


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