Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Poetry, Spirituality, and Stress-Time

“Make sure that you don’t think too much about this” – a professor.

I should say rather, a concerned professor. The this (in the quote) refers to a poem that I showed a professor of mine. (I’ve appended it below.) He (oops, I mean, “he or she”) mentioned a few adjustments I might want to make: for example, use the word “cord” instead of "rope." And we chatted about the connotations that that would bring: umbilical cord, the monkey-line, the nooses in the news. (Maybe I’ll want to change the word, but to “line,” as in “tow the line,” which would go along with "towline.") The end of the conversation was the above comment. It startled me a little at the time, but I've thought more about it since, and I want to focus on the absurdity of the remark. And to emphasize his concern, consternation. He knew of my tremendous course workload—the insanity of the scientific process brought to literature. So he meant well . . . but HOW ON EARTH CAN YOU TELL SOMEONE TO NOT INVEST THEMSELVES INTO POETRY! Especially at the crux, when the hammers are falling, when the institutional structures are beating you down, sapping your vital energy, especially then, poetry, poetry.

APPENDIX: The poem is titled "Ishmael Knows This," by which I intend to insinuate a rewrite of Moby-Dick, as in "if Ishmael were honest with himself, he'd admit that 'Ahab' (whatever Ahab stands for) is alive." I'm not sure how this poem particularly relates to my entry above--other than the fact of it being a poem.

Ahab running loose—loose:
The pirates are chasing Ahab; the gods,
Ahab; the whale, Ahab;
Ahab, Ahab; but

I say—I say—I say unto you,
the rope, the rope: phantasmagoria:
the rope chasing Ahab—strung round
with a quick snap—the flying towline of the sea—
yea, yea—the rope is chasing Ahab, and

Ahab is loose—running loose.

PS: I am presupposing for this entry that the incarnational dynamic of poetry can directly relate to Jesus , redemption, and salvation; that the practice of poetry can be can be deeply spiritual and contemplative; and that therefore chatting about poetry is/can be relevant to discussing spirituality. I am open to reply-comments that you think might be relevant to spirituality, either about the entry or poem .

-Paul Corrigan

1 comment:

racotton said...

Good poem! I agree about poetry being vital--a key way to withstand the external pressures on our inner selves. It definitely relates to the incarnation--to our incarnating who we truly are. Keep up the good "work"! Rickey Cotton

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