Some pre-coffee morning thoughts:
Poetry is a many splendored thing. It’s a means of self-expression, communication, therapy, entertainment and artistic/creative release – all good things – yet it’s much more than these. In a sense, poetry is a religion – and it’s reality.
There are some folks, however – and I’ve known quite a few – who see poetry as a bad thing, an ego trip, an escape from “real,” practical living and seeing.
Sometimes I wonder. In the course of striving to discover, express and unearth myself through the pursuit of poetry, could it be that I also bury my real self in it? Is it possible that the more we reveal ourselves, the more we unintentionally conceal ourselves? Or that the more we clarify ourselves through poetry, the more muddy the picture of what we’ve attempted to clarify becomes? If so, then why? Is there some sort of subconscious self-defense mechanism at work within us? Or is it more a case of reality itself being supremely muddy? In the latter case, our best efforts to clarify reality will only serve to reveal how muddy it is.
I don’t know. Maybe it’s like excavating archeological artifacts. The treasure we find might be muddy when we find it – but that doesn’t mean the treasure is made of mud or the mud coating was ever a real part of the treasure. It might have been very difficult to get to that point of discovery – navigating through jungles, doing lots of digging, or making one’s way through the depths to the ocean bottom. But just because we find the “item” we sought, whatever it might be, doesn’t mean our work is finished. Found treasures sometimes require careful cleaning, reconstruction, or preservation. Sometimes it takes a while to know what they are, put them in their proper context or fully make sense of them. Maybe we learn that certain components are missing and we must do more digging or sifting. Perhaps in some cases we can never fully make sense of what we’ve found. Maybe one person’s treasure is another person’s trash – and vice versa. And maybe – just maybe – in muddy reality it’s all treasure – and it’s all trash.
Should poetry be pretty or dirty? In other words… Is poetry a bridge over these muddy waters? Or should poetry eschew the bridge and dive in?
Jesus by Jesus [last night’s Photobucketization of a 2007 self-portrait]