Wednesday, September 06, 2006

"without a flash"       [gnomic ars poetica]


If everything was directional and nothing was direct
(if the flash was the word flash without a flash)
then everything was artifice   rhetorical in fact
  with the reality of fiction   or of cash

If aught was description   while naught was described
(if the flare was the word flare without a flare)
then all was hypothetical   an algorithm derived
  from a castle one might posit in the air

Yet they say that the thought or the sheer imagination
impacts the organism as though it were substantial
as if the idea of the sun and its lucent implication
couold grow trees with fruit abundant and mercantile


2 Comments:

Blogger Batul said...

David, I liked the first two verses very much. The third seemed yet incomplete, specially could not understand the use of the last word "merchantile". What do you mean by it, in this particular context?

Wed Sep 06, 03:50:00 AM PDT  
Blogger david raphael israel said...

Batul,
the final 2 lines paint an odd thought, no doubt. With the last line, I meant to delineate the conceit that merely the idea or imagination of a sun could be so efficacious as not only to warm and grow a tree, but furthermore to cause the tree to bring forth fruit palpable, "abundant" and so real, one could sell in the market (hence "mercantile" -- which I had misspelled, but have now corrected; intended to convey the idea of "marketable," i.e. "worthy or suited to the world of trade").

So: the notion is, the fruit produced (by a mere idea of the sun) may prove real enough not merely to be appreciated by a lone individual; it furthermore can be exchanged in the markets and bazaars of the world. Real enough that a merchant could sell it. What is the standard of reality? One standard is, if I see something, and you also see it. This "agreed-upon" or consensus reality is sketched (with the word "cash" in the 1st stanza) as an example of the illusory (in a line where "cash" is paired with "fiction"); but here, it is held up as a measure of the real. In other respects, too, this last stanza cuts against the grain of the first two stanzas. There, words without apparent reality are cast into doubt. But here, it is suggested that thoughts, words, ideas -- all of these may behave like "real enough" things. Possibly as real as the world itself.

Wed Sep 06, 06:47:00 AM PDT  

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