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(A Question Of) DEFINITION


Recently a friend told me

Poetry is a way of

   Speaking the unspeakable

   Saying the unsayable

   Writing the unwritable . . .

Frankly, that's the most unheard of thing, I've ever heard of!

(As Jay Ward's King Leonardo would say).

The ineffable is

   By definition

Beyond words --isn't it?


I suppose

   One could try

   Writing around the unspeakable,

   Bracketing it in words,

   Defining it by its absence;

But that strikes me as little more than a cheap conjurers trick

   More "arty" than "art,"

      And besides . . .

      It sounds way too much like work.


And I suppose

One could resort to

Simile and metaphor

Like we were taught back in Seminary School (while learning to

petition the Lord with prayer).

   But, isn't that just saying the unsayable

   In "other" words? (I think Morrison was right)


So, what am I to do?

   Study Japanese Haiku in greater depth?

   Write poetry too vague to discern a meaning in,

      And in so doing

      Appear as though I were saying the unsayable

      When in fact I'm saying nothing at all?


I will admit it!

I cannot say the unsayable

Write the unwritable


Sing the lost chord (neither could the Moody Blues);


   Just sometimes, mind you

I can tell you what I think

And how I feel.

And perhaps, if I dress it up

   In best Sunday go to poetry readin' clothing

Then just maybe

   You won't notice

         That it's not poetry

                  --By a critics definition.


Come to think of it

He doesn't write poetry,

I guess by his definition

   He's the best poet of all.


                            13 Sep 1996/24 Jul 97


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