“I write poetry as a way to tell the truth
without having to confess to a single truth.”
– Ren Powell
The natural world fascinates me. The seemingly altruistic mechanisms of the networks of fungi under the forest floor, and the ticking clocks of the telomeres within our dividing cells that count down each cell’s eventual, individual death—these turn the tables on poetry in my mind. I have to wonder if we are nothing but metaphors and poems written by the universe?
It’s humbling. And stunning.
Every aspect of an inherited language comes from disregarded experiences: the physicality of the word blurt when someone first blurted the word, and the referential physicality of a word like “stunned” and “stunning”.
We use the word stunned far more often than we’ve experienced it.
We dispatch and receive every word with the speed of clichès, and I believe it’s the job of poetry to slow us down. That the slowing down is what can make prose poetry. Poetry brings us back to our bodies, to the narrow ways in which we can perceive the physical world, to inspire us to form new understandings and new questions—not to provide reassurance for concepts we’ve already have tucked into our pockets.
In the 1980s we learned that elephants communicate using a frequency that we humans can’t hear, but they’ve been singing all along. There is so much we don’t know. I can’t speak for the elephants. Or for the trees. Or even for the mysteries of the organelles in the cells of my own body.
But I can and I do question it all from my limited point of view. I explore everything I brush against while holding the uncomfortable awareness of my own impermanence.
And I ask you if we have these experiences in common.
nature poetry, lyric poetry, narrative poetry, deep ecology poetry, buddhist poetry, existentialist poetry