From love, love borrows that which love has lent.
When love says: “I love you” love says the same.
And so love is a circular argument.
It’s a roundabout affair; claim for claim.
“Good night” love says, the same is love’s reply.
“Sweet dreams” love says, anointed with a kiss.
“Sleep tight” love says, so starts a lullaby.
When love says “I’m here” there’s nothing amiss;
Love’s partner is love, together complete.
It’s through confirmation that love endures.
“I love you” said once, deserves repeat.
“I love you” and “I love you” reassures.
. Upon love’s roundabout, spins love’s intent,
. With each return, there rides love’s sentiment.
To the reader: The structure of the heart has it working two-parts as one. The circulation of a life-force makes it the ideal metaphor for ‘love-central’. With responsive rhythm, the heart renews and refreshes. It’s no coincidence then, that living and loving are such united motivations. Together they fulfil our physical and emotional needs; one fuels, the other fires.
To the poet: Sentiment is an ink that never fully dries. Its wet nature bleeds and smudges at the slightest touch. To control the flow of sentiment takes the skill of a water-colourist. The risk of over-working is ever-present; accident and incident are heavy handed partners. Sentiment is a translucent medium that washes over page and canvas with diffusive effect; a touch too much and recognition is lost.
Degas fears not dust, but the hand of man.
His art is that of motion not of bronze.
His shuttered frame’s neither still nor frozen.
From moment to moment his art responds.
He seeks the illusion of transfered weight;
forward leaning movements lunging at space.
He seeks expression through a fluid state;
liquid locomotion spilled into place.
See the bathing women, the jockeyed horse,
the ballerinas giving curtain call,
the girls with flowers, and himself of course;
none paint a picture showing life at stall.
. The subtle suggestion of swing and sway,
. Creates the impression of dance at play.
To the reader: “What’s more static than a statued dancer?” Degas was challenged by the limitations of ‘snapshot’ art. The idea of capturing a static scene brought him little interest. His more intriguing challenge came through art that suggested something beyond the instant of creation. Through pose and posture, Degas gave his subjects impetus; his scenes momentum. Therein lies the power of degas … in every moment there’s fresh potential.
To the poet: Like moths to light, experts love controvacy:”Degas, one suspects, was turning in his grave. Before his death in 1917, he repeatedly expressed concern that charlatans might highjack his legacy by casting his sculptures in bronze and selling them to collectors, and is said to have told his fellow painter Georges Rouault, ‘What I fear most is not dust but the hand of man.'” And that article in Bloomberg Business (by William D Cohan) triggered my poetic interest.
Make something out of nothing. Justify
effort. Zero sum. Write a nil report
on emptiness with white clouds on blue sky.
Null and void substance. Abstractions of nought.
Make something out of nothing. Vacant plot
is fertile ground. Those yet to be employed
give vacuous answers to diddly squat?
No. Nothing’s wasted, dismissed or destroyed.
Make something out of nothing. Emphasise
oblivion’s negative force. Contrive
an essence that permeates emptiness.
New things from no things; from all things derive.
. Emptiness – surely it’s something of sorts.
. Needs invention through series of thoughts.
Make something out of nothing, zero sum
the universe with far too many noughts.
Measure the emptiness of kingdom come;
biblical proportions in bleak reports.
Occupy heaven with a vacant stare;
a blank expression holds no depth of field.
Focus on oblivion … who’s to care
that eternity has its future sealed.
Porous impressions given a thin coat
of certainty beyond a lick of paint.
Into the distance we adopt remote
orbits; avoiding gravity’s restraint
. Exploring principles of uncertainty
. through the empty eyes of modernity.
To the reader: We have so many ways of describing the absence of anything else; from oblivion to nirvana. In oblivion, nothingness, like all else, has no value. In the vast void of oblivion’s estate all good purpose is lost; given to waste. Nirvana, on the other hand is a transcendental realm of nothingness. We reach ‘Nirvana’ through a heightened state of being; where upon, through the absence of all else, we find eternal happiness beyond the necessities of existence.
To the poet: “What’s nothing but the invention of nought” This sonnet is a far cry from the draft I wrote in October, 2012. In its original form, the text was strangled by internal reference to a poorly defined subject. Failure was somewhat understandable as the poem’s confused protagonist was nothing more than nothing. In the final version, I’ve stripped away the physical narrative to emphasise the transcendental phrasing … meaning on its way to nothingness.
A thoughtful pose has contemplative poise;
its purpose is more poignant than profound.
In posture it’s positioned and so deploys
a line of thought before it breaks new ground.
It’s a ponderous thought without anchor;
not hooked to certainty, not chained to proof,
not pitched to ruffle, or raised to ranker;
as ever prudent it remains aloof.
To some extent it loiters with intent;
seeking permission before intrusion.
Along with due regard it’s time well spent:
‘Blessed is the thought without conclusion’
. Contemplation … preserves the pragmatic.
. Reservation … rescues the erratic..
To the reader: Avoiding the arrogance of certainty requires reservation. For those endowed with high-powered intellects, and an impulsive nature, being thoughtful is a challenge. Their ability to be cautious in conclusion is often over-ridden by a narrow spark of brilliance that out-shines the soft-light of wisdom. Because they thrive on instancy they contrive urgent environments that demand quick solutions … but what of the question that has no answer?
To the poet: … blessed is the thought without conclusion. To pause in a suspended state of wonder feeds imagination, fuels curiosity, opens the mind to a range of possibilities. My poetry is like that… the rules of sonnet writing conveniently slow down the thought process to a mindful state of awareness. In my opinion, being a meditative amusement, the sonnet is best cooked slowly. There are other forms of poetry that celebrate spontaneity; to them I tip my hat.
Early in debate, two sharp points were made.
Succinct as a dagger’s thrust; both cut deep.
To be driven home, each decisive blade
was further twisted; blood and guts did seep.
The angles of intrusion were acute;
on passage, both knives parted flesh from bone,
lanced the stomach, and punctured lungs on route.
They came to rest, rigid as steel in stone.
As life bled from the wounds (of both soon dead)
those in witness stopped in forensic pause;
thought upon the motive and so agreed:
“Death came to pass upon a common cause.”
. For those who debate, agreement is death;
. a sign of weakness … such a waste of breath.
To the reader: I worked in an office where heated debate would often culminate in furious agreement. Two staff-members with fiery temperaments would constantly joust and parry over common ground. For all in witness, it would have been far better these two pedants had opposing views of worthy substance. Alas, and instead, the two argued over detail and finally arrived at a consensus; long-since agreed by all else half-concerned by the menial matter.
To the poet: “What of two minds that claim a single thought?” The two subjects of this poem are in dispute; literally. Are they the two sharp points, are they the two daggers; then again, are they the two adversaries? That subjective confusion is deliberate in construing an investigative pastiche; a crime scene of sorts. As required of this genre, a confused subject needs a vague objective; and so the plot thickens. What’s the remedy? A strong couplet that solves the riddle.
The strength of argument is undermined
when a salient point is overstressed.
For combative sake, such is underlined;
brought to fore, emboldened and overdressed.
At front of mind keep things staid and subtle.
Let the main point grow from a single source.
Hold back on highlights, their shine can scuttle
gentle persuasion (a more useful force).
Let the shape of things assume a pattern.
By design, logic itself will unfold
its grand plan; and in good time, unflatten
that which by rights should have its credits told.
. Let the emphasis be a natural stamp.
. Let the logic of truth light its own lamp.
To the reader: Fashion often begins as a bold statement that gains mainstream approval. Singularity becomes popularity. The norming effect absorbs distinction. Peaks of interest wane; become mundane… we simply lose interest in the fad. Used sparingly, boldness is an effective attention grabber; useful in assembling interest, drawing a crowd and gaining focus. Overused, it’s a crude and ugly device.
To the poet: “Are all things to be boldly underlined?” Impacts can pack a punch and leave a lasting impression; as in a bruising affair. Then again, there’s a lot to be said for the subtle approach that through imperceptible gradations alters a line of thought or a chain of events. In poetry, novel nuance is equal to brazen boldness; our good-readers are alert to ambiguity; they’ll stop without a red-light flashing.