Wednesday, March 27, 2013

An Essay on Words

A word is made of matter and of form.
The ink this paper drinks against its will,
or air you shake to spill these spots out loud,
this thing you see or say: that is the matter.

Now form cannot be seen, cannot be heard;
It is a ghost, a soul that sways from me
to you:--I tell you 'tree', you see a tree--
It goes from mind to mind by means of words.

Form does not live in words; it passes through
them, as the breath of God that gives us life.
In this we are like Him: from clay--or ink--
We crowd with words this tiny world called mind.

And shall we be a Gnostic deity?
Abandon creatures we have made to luck,
to hate, and then to die? or be as Christ,
and, ever acting from love, love unknown?

Let's then be Christian in our literacy,
And tend the flock of which we all are priests.
Recall that words are fragments of our souls,
And we the Word that makes them come alive.


I'm not thoroughly satisfied with this, so I may yet make some changes to it.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Aristotle's Mercy

From Athens came to Chalcis then
The Stagirite; this way
the fools were spared the double shame
of twice the same to pay.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Goethe on Poetry

I just wanted to share some of Goethe's thoughts on poetry that I have been mulling over in my mind for the last few days:

    "The Present will have its rights; the thoughts and feelings which daily press upon the poet will and should be expressed. But, if you have a great work in your head, nothing else thrives near it; all other thoughts are repelled, and the pleasure of life itself is for the time lost. What exertion and expenditure of mental force are required to arrange and round off a great whole! and then what powers, and what a tranquil situation, to express it with the proper fluency! If you have erred as to the whole, all your toil is lost; and further, if, treating so extensive a subject, you are not perfectly master of your material in the details, the whole will be defective, and censure will be incurred. Thus, for all his toil and sacrifice, the poet gets, instead of reward and pleasure, nothing but discomfort and a paralysis of his powers. But if he daily seizes the present, and always treats with a freshness of feeling what is offered him, he always makes sure of something good; and, if he sometimes does not succeed, has at least lost nothing.
    "...but do people conform to the instructions of us old ones? Each thinks he must know best about himself, and thus many are lost entirely, and many for a long time go astray. Past is the time for blundering about--that belonged to us old ones; and what was the use of all our seeking and blundering, if you young people choose to go the very same way over again? In this way we can never get on at all. Our errors were endured because we found no beaten path; he that comes later must not be seeking and blundering, but should use the instructions of the old ones to proceed at once on the right path. It is not enough to take steps which may some day lead to a goal; each step must be itself a goal.
    "Carry these words about with you, and see how you can apply them ... If at present you treat only small subjects, freshly dashing off what every day offers you, you will generally produce something good, and each day will bring you pleasure. Give what you do to the pocket-volumes and periodicals, but never submit yourself to the requirements of others; always follow your own sense."


From "Conversations with Eckermann". 

Friday, March 8, 2013

An Ode to Summer

Once more unto the beach, dear fiends, once more:
The sun is once more shining high above.
The beer is once more cooled to kill our bore.
The sweet, sweet summer dream once more with love.
Once more, dear fiends, let's drink to hearts content:
Let's burn by day our skins and then be vain.
Let's waste away the night and then be spent.
Let's wake up drunk and spill our guts again.
I say: once more, my fiends, and yet once more.
It's time for dreams, it's time for drinks, it's time
For joy! Postpone our lives, and do no chore.
But what? This is our life: to waste our prime.
   We trouble, toil, struggle to coil from strife.
   We, in our longing to live, forget what is life.