*if you don’t want to be bored by some bad attempt at an exposition on my intention & what a poem is, skip ahead to the poem.
after the 3rd or 4th time visiting the stream it started to reveal more & more. it unfurled its history through the details of its influence upon the environment. a geologist would gather this insight immediately but i am not one, & of no particular talent. so i learn through a poetic seeing; which is another way of seeing that probably isn’t right but nevertheless exists as a paragon of some sort that can be followed with some success & little harm to thinking. the world must first stand out for me, must court me with its beauty, must tug my gaze like a flame tugs the attention of the moth. it is much like what Theodore Roethke does in his childish & more playful poems, which read like a series of childish questions about the world; Dylan Thomas does something remarkably similar.
it is not a productive way of going about things, it delivers nothing of value… the stream does not do what i say it does, it is not a character, so what is it that draws us to doing this, not just to streams but animals & even objects? its genesis came & (continues even more so) comes from the egocentric hold over the world we believe we have, which is deeply conditioned in us as its self anointed proprietors & began from the moment we commanded a flame from a branch or a seed into fruit or flower.
we gave godly appellations to the produce of nature, we claimed that which sustained us, developed myths to give further credibility to its nursing of our wants. this evolved into personification on multiple levels & we see it now with disney & children’s cartoons.
when we personify something natural we are binding our self with nature, cohabiting not only physical but also mental space, a sort of contagious magic (in the Frazerean sense). you can see an untranslated version of this if you watch somebody take in a spectacular view, they pause & note everything they are seeing, it is the beauty of it they might say, but there is that additional emotion, which is registered, leaves an imprint, but goes unchallenged, it remains only that sense of something beyond us; if they probed they might discover that it is the landscape, the beauty of the natural world of what it means to our survival that is so much entwined with them that they are confronted with a sensation that is difficult to articulate; it the same as tryin to describe love- it is impossible to get to the core of the emotion. this is where art & the poem come in: the poem is a very precise expression of the self manifesting itself into a pantheistic paradigm, it is this sensation attempting to break our silence & becoming.
this is what i think i’ve done & then tried to articulate my self cleverly by giving some gaudy explanation. you should have took my advice at the beginning.
셋 : the stream’s character
to ascend the stream i grappled vines
as sinewy as pagan gods
/ trusted the integrity of numerous branches
/ most offered me their final ounce of strength
so as to climb a face of rock covered in wet moss
/ or cross well-polished stones
the grip of my boots could not be trusted with
/ even the stones that appear assured must first be tested
/ as in a game of chess its best
to plot a route as far as can be seen ahead of you.
all day & night much is demanded of the stream
: as long as human memory it has been a lapidary
/ meticulous, it buffs its private collection of stones
that differ from the parched stones of a trail
the filthy stones that have been pressed into the soil.
it also tends an unspoilt arboretum, a nursery of pine & maple.
& finally it weaves scruffy rugs
/ treating them with its homemade shampoo.
a woodpecker’s pip like a metronome
/ sends me back to a pebbly beach in brighton
/ the sound of one pebble clinked against another
/ a person i just met / a friend of a friend
/ explaining how all grains of sand
were once part of a single pebble
& that the future state of all pebbles
was to one day turn to sand.
i thought this so intensely wise
& from somebody only 23.
it has always stayed with me,
came to me there / again / ascending the stream.
the stream was done with me, unlike it / my intellect is fallible.
i hoped that later on it would lend me more revelations
/ would teach me from afar through memory & anecdote.