A Few Valedictory Remarks on this Poetic Blog
O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
There is a twin purpose for Whitman being here. First, as the greatest narcissist among that collective narcissism we call lyric poets, we will need him to point out certain realities about the use of weblogs as a location for poetry.
That Whitman in particular is, as some know, my least favorite poem of his. Whitman is normally undecipherable by the uninitiated, and we can forgive him that because he had his good bits in there even when we have no idea what he is trying to say. But when he starts applying strong meter and rhyme he suddenly becomes understandable and we decide we don’t like it. It may have to do with popularity. We are (we like to think) above such petty matters like form and concentrate on content. The message! It must win! Never mind a bit of ugly clumsy-odd enjambment for its own sake. WHAT we say is more important than HOW we say it!
Poetry and Discourse
Of course Whitman didn’t believe that either. He knew exactly what he was doing. The old goat had it in mind to create the persona Whitman which says the other stuff we are more supposed to like. It’s not unusual. Persona Joyce, persona Hemingway, persona Frost, even persona Dickinson who was invisible to the world, become part of the discourse and we can’t avoid it. They relished the image as much as the content, and this image is smeared all over the expression as much as the thought behind it and that is just and proper because it provides context. And all literature is discursive as a result. We can no more separate the persona from the work than we can separate H2 from O and still expect to relieve our thirst.
And as much as we would like to believe that the discourse should not matter, it does. We contribute to it as much as we draw from it and the discursive reality that is the poem cannot be self-referential, it must draw from its context what it must so that duende can have its way and allow a drawing from that occasional spring of genius that renders the discourse all the better for it. But at the end, by attempting a separation of the discourse from the poem itself, we want to achieve something we cannot define – naked expression. That expression which might stand on its own without reference. It cannot exist, but we would like it to. So we write towards a universality of expression, and even though it is all in vain, such efforts reward us because the poem can be lifted and placed within a new context where it may work a new form of magic.
Poetry is perceived truth. Some of it is verisimilitude, some of it wisdom from experience, but at the end it is the truth of the poetic moment. We absorb ourselves into the poet’s state of mind at the instance of utterance and we realize its universality when we are able to touch it and it touches us. And even within the context of the poet’s persona we are still able to create a momentary illusion within ourselves that the poem brings us in touch with the idea.
The blog, more specifically the poetic blog creates a similar sort of instance, except that the context is in plain site. We know of Shakespearean discourse because we know the context of the play and the world within which it was written. But it is not immediately apparent. We know Hemingway really did go to Spain that summer, but Jake could save Brett from abandonment without our having remembered it. The blog, on the other hand sits there constantly reminding us of the persona that the author has created which permeates the context and flavors the reading. It is the blog-character talking to us, not the work in itself.
Not that the blog as an instance of performance is necessarily a bad thing. Good poetry comes from anywhere (as can bad poetry) and we mustn’t put any undue responsibility on the blog itself for the results. But it does color the reading as would any other interpretation and so the poet must guard against that and look at the poem from as many possible circumstances as possible in order to see it’s effect.
I know this all sounds like worrying about which way the wind is blowing when dealing a round of playing cards, but it does matter if we are to see our poems elsewhere than on a blog. We want our expression to be as naked as possible so that we can pose it towards our needs.
Now this brings me to the matter of this specific poetic blog known as Intrepid Dreamer and by which we tackle the second reason for the Whitman
There was a 20 year gap between poetry then when I was a serious student of it, and poetry now. Along the way, there had been some deep thoughts on the subject and a lot more reading of it. I’d told myself at the start “Okay, you can do this” and indeed I had. But even early on I knew it was just a blog and I’d been trying for the past 10 or so months for the poetry to be more than that.
It’s time to move on. No I’m not leaving. Only the poetry is.
“Bye bye SU. You were a good way to get started. So to those of you who are still paying attention, many thanks for the praise and encouragement thus far, and I love you all dearly.”
(Intrepid Dreamer Poetry)
She is cruel,
she is beautiful
must get to know her better.
(And there will be more Prose Fiction as well–only not here.)
So the poetry now bids SU…
"Life is an abnormal business"
"The Salvo Shot"
The salvo shot these forty years ago;
Only now comes thunder
And a hole where once I stood in wonder
Of it all and wept. How strange the tides and undertow,
The gravitas, the rise and fall of passions and the scent of rage.
This primal praise, the apt applause, and laurels
For the victor: genesis, hiatus to the quarrel
Whose monuments wear granite robes. The times and age
And something in the smoke, a thin translucent veil
That both beatifies and damns the triumph
Casting wonder in the pliant
Cusps of what the matter is. On such a scale,
Questions mount to shake their gory locks and strike the rod:
Lightning quickens brief ephemeral forms and yet another god.
[yeah – seb]
the idea that the media is there to educate us, or to inform us, is ridiculous because that’s about tenth or eleventh on their list. the first purpose of the media is to sell us shit, things we don’t need. one moment it’ll be “don’t do drugs” and ten minutes later it’s miller time — abbie hoffman, 1987
"The Poet in Me Licks the Poet in You"
Acrylic on Canvas