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And just where is it beauty hides, and truth amid dishonesty? One never knows. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ So this is the pen (the enclosure) for my most recent poems and poemoids. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2009-04-20 -- Brian A. J. Salchert

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

About and About

My whole life, Lord. My whole life. . . . . . . It's amazing I've accomplished what I have accomplished: I, so often on edge. Before me is a poem: maybe seven/ versions of it. I do not like any of them. And yet, I want to salvage it.  . . .  Why? . . . Such highs and lows today. Earlier, spurred by what I had been reading, I drifted into wondering if there is such a thing as a perfect poem, if it even matters--the words in it, and their order-- given that the constant changes in authors and audiences inevitably change whatever symbols constitute an artifact. Oh, O Westron Wind came to me as a candidate for acceptable perfection, and of course similar others pass through shadows about and about, their pleasures pleasing. Still, none is perfect, and it seems to me near perfection resonates with a more lasting force. So, what's to be done? As I forgive, forgive the sins of Brian (Baj). tg00030

8 comments:

Joseph Hutchison said...

Not perfection, but "acceptably perfect," Brian. And I have to say, no poem that still finds even one reader is an artifact, because it's still being used. (Unlike pot sherds, for example, or alabaster unguent bottles from Nefertiti's tomb.) I always keep old Hank James in mind: "We work in the dark, we do what we can, we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task." Which he then ruins by adding, "The rest is the madness of art." Oh, well. That fusty Romantic gesture doesn't dilute the truth of what comes before it: "Our doubt ... is our task." Of course you want to salvage that poem. All your blog readers, even those like me who pass through silently most of the time, are glad that you do.

brian (baj) salchert said...

Thank you, Joseph, for your comment. As to "artifact": for me an artifact is a made thing, whether by a human or by the wind. If by a human, then whenever the human who is making it or has made it is away from it/ it is in stasis unless some other is perceiving it or is more intimately interacting with it. A wind might rip it or knock it over. The human maker, while still alive, might change it. A human perceiver--reading it silently or aloud, or hearing it read--will certainly change it even while being changed by it, and even if that human doesn't literally change it. I know, I'm a bit quirky.

Joseph Hutchison said...

I think I associate "artifact" with "relic" in the sense that it's a human-made thing (the crafty wind need not apply) of only "historical or sentimental interest," as my Oxford has it. In my quirky head, a poem read for the experience of reading it doesn't qualify: it's a living thing, not an artifact....

brian (baj) salchert said...

Two afterthoughts:

1. "Before me is a poem" relates to an older poem, not this one. However, I do not insist on that. A reader of this is welcome to see it either way.

2. During the day yesterday/ more than the usual number of positive and negative events pertaining to me and to others in my thoughts conjoined. A sensation of drifting arose. At one point a sharp pain in my right ribs nearly made me call 911, but the pain passed. On Wednesday my densitometry technician told me some of my bones had strengthened since my last scan. My conscious, it seems, was trying to protect itself by letting my unconscious have more power. That was the state I was in when I began writing this post. I remember my reason didn't like the direction it was taking, but I let my intuition hold sway because deep within I felt I had to no matter the result of it.

Joseph Hutchison said...

1. I assumed the older poem. Maybe because a poem in present tense seems an enactment, not a recollection. Rhetoric, of course.
2. Reason is overrated. Even by the lights of particle physics, we are sustained by the invisible. The "unconscious." Best of all the good news about your bone density, whatever the cause....

Cheers!

brian (baj) salchert said...

William Michaelian's Amen post

brian (baj) salchert said...

From page 64 of The Archetypal Imagination by James Hollis and David H. Rosen, this Jung quote: . . . "for all the freedom of [the artist's] life and the clarity of his thought, he is everywhere hemmed around and prevailed upon by the Unconscious, the mysterious god within him, so that ideas flow to him--he knows not whence, he is driven to work and create--he knows not to what end, and is mastered by an impulse for constant growth and development--he knows not whither." And on page 65 the authors write: "We are forever being surprised by what lies behind the next developmental door. And we are often obliged to go to places we would rather not, but to which some larger power insists we go." Lastly, from Owen Barfield's Poetic Diction: A Study in Meaning, XII Conclusion, page 181: "Great poetry is the progressive incarnation of life in consciousness."

brian (baj) salchert said...

While the definitions of some words have changed drastically, "artifact" hasn't and likely won't. So I am shelving my definition for the nonce but will not be removing it from "About and About"; I will continue to call a poem a made thing, which does not mean a dead thing, but does mean that when no sentient being is attending it/ it is a thing in stasis (asleep as it were).

Here is a passage from page 180 of Owen Barfield's book:
"If not the prime object, pleasure is undoubtedly an excellent test, or mark, of the presence of poetry. For what is absolutely necessary to the present existence of poetry? Movement. The wisdom which she has imparted may remain for a time at rest, but she herself will always be found to have gone forward to where there is life, and therefore movement, now."

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