Thursday, December 22, 2005

Low-technology   [sonnet]

What is it I presume I might be seeking?
the joy of meeting   or the pain of absence?
the universe conceivably in presence
is grounded   but it's not as if we're peeking

behind the famous screen   (opaque & deep)
whereon the film's projected   low-technology
by what perverse (indeed macabre) ecology
our little life is rounded with a sleep

the body we embue with daily waking
this instrument for focusing the vast
entirety of everything at last
we loll about & feed it   are we making

    full use of   so preposterous a tool?
    a lens for wise   a haversack for fool?

Our little life... (The Tempest, Act IV, Scene 1)
Not wishing to limit reading of the word, I'll nonetheless point to the haversack definition noted in a certain quaint Civil War Pictionary.
[This is my Sonnet #2 cross-posted to the Shakespeare & Company blog]


Blogger ~River~ said...

Interesting. I had quoted from The Tempest a few days back for one of my poems. Just tells us how useful Billy S. still is. The last two stanzas made me think. ~:S

Thu Dec 22, 03:31:00 AM PST  
Blogger david raphael israel said...

Yes, true! (I'd forgotten the precise origin of that familiar line, but googling disclosed it.)

I'm most happy w/ this poem's final line. I've never had occasion to use the word haversack anywhere; but today this poem seemingly wanted it. By current standards, a lens is reasonably "low tech" (as is likewise a knapsack -- though both do represent definite leaps of human technical expertise).

The invocation of "low-technology" is, in a way, a (distant) response or answer to Gary Snyder's use of the phrase "high quality information" (in his eponymous poem -- a favorite of his poems for me; but I digress). Here, though, "low-technology" of course might suggest a trope for the universal process of embodiment per se -- or (at a minimum) for that entailed in human consciousness. (I'll now exit this Comment before I get too hifalutin' for too long.)

Thu Dec 22, 03:43:00 AM PST  

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