In the six years that “literarylew” has existed, I’ve explored poetry at great depth. A lot of my exploration has been in the area of semiotics, that unconscious domain where instincts and external demands of society encounter each other and an identity amenable to symbolic participation in the world is created. If this identity is too well-endowed with instinctual energy, psychosis could emerge in the extreme. If “external demands” rule the day, then at an extreme linear thinking will prevail one will find comfort in the world that W. H. Auden described as that of, “a logical lunatic.” The goal is for both dimensions of human experience to freely interact with instinctual energy finding expression in socially acceptable terms.
But the poet has that “id”-stinctual energy working with more intensity than those of us who live a more prosaic life. With the poet, words cavort about in the subterranean regions of the heart, making it challenging to, “buckle his distempered “swollen” heart within the belt of rule….as Shakespeare put it. The energy of instinctual energy that would threaten dissolution is harnessed by the poet’s capacity to use words to bind that energy and to use words creatively. At the conclusion I will include a poem by Archibald MacLeish who so beautifully describes the meshing of what William James called the, “blooming, buzzing, confusing world of sense experience” with words.)
However, I first would like to introduce you to my most recent blog subscriber, a Texas “outlaw” poet, Jeff Callaway, whose life story and poetry so beautifully illustrates the struggle of one poet in “binding” the energy of his heart and life. This poem is a hodgepodge of imagery, often lacking “sense” other than to one who has a heart for poetry and will intuit and feel a whole lot of “sense” by giving it a close, attentive reading. Here I quote the initial stanza of this raucous and often bawdy poem which clearly reveals this man’s energy bursting at the seams:
the greatest poems
are never written down
but lonely and forgotten
before a pen can be found
the greatest poems never find the ink
in the time it takes you to think
slowly with time they fade
and face the guillotine
of jilted poems and unrequited lovers
or glued to my own vague memory
of what could’ve been
if only i’d had a pen
and the recollection to keep repeating
what it was i was trying to say…
For the whole of this poem, check out this link: https://texasoutlawpoet.com/2018/02/16/the-greatest-poems-of-all-by-jeff-callaway-texas-outlaw-poet-2/
“Words in Time,” by Archibald MacLeisch:
Bewildered with the broken tongue
of wakened angels in our sleep
then lost the music that was sung
and lost the light time cannot keep!
There is a moment when we lie
Bewildered, wakened out of sleep,
when light and sound and all reply:
that moment time must tame and keep.
That moment like a flight of birds
flung from the branches where they sleep,
the poet with a beat of words
flings into time for time to keep.
Here is a list of my blogs. I invite you to check out the other two sometime.