Friday, February 19, 2016

POETS and their minds see things differently

Walker Percy

“If poets often commit suicide, it is not because their poems are bad but because they are good. Whoever heard of a bad poet committing suicide? The reader is only a little better off. The exhilaration of a good poem lasts twenty minutes, an hour at most.

Unlike the scientist, the artist has reentry problems that are frequent and catastrophic.”

“What matters is not the idea a man holds, but the depth at which he holds it”  Ezra Pound

“To be nobody but yourself in a world that's doing its best to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Never stop fighting.”  e.e. cummings

“If we value so highly the dignity of life, how can we not also value the dignity of death? No death may be called futile.”  Yukio Mishima

Poets are often said to be crazy.  Or just as often, to be geniuses.  Sometimes they are seen to be both, crazed and genius.  They see things differently.  I am not sure that I qualify, so this isn't self congratulations, or a first personal confessional.   But I can say, poets seem to commit suicide, endure madness, seek treatment for depression, endure"nervous breakdowns", receive electro shock therapy, enter mental asylums, become exiles, and be accused of insanity at a rate that the rest of the citizenry do not know.

I offer that it is from the desire to see everything, know everything, taste everything, that the poet mind is injured.  Some minds can become dull to the knowledge of human tragedy.  Some can turn to deviant behavior to taste the darkness, but most poets need not do, they have imaginations that are fed, by their mind and their seeking.

A person who left me at the age of 48, by suicide, told me, 'Alex, we don't have to beg forgiveness, we feel the world's sins every fucking day.' But I pray for forgiveness, I believe in forgiveness, and if I bear burdens of the world, I do so poorly.  And yet, I feel the burden.  As I believe, most poets do.  But I am not speaking of a moral burden, but the burden of knowing.  Many have dipped their ladle into the river Styx and tasted of the foul waters.  Knowing the evil that humans do is torment.  We don't stand in judgment of humanity, we stand in judgment of our inability to do anything about the path we see the world following.

Poets often use the term bleeding ink.  They mean by that, using their poetry to express their emotions.  But not all poets use poems to express such.  Some offer there views in verse, to challenge the world they live upon, and within.

The image below is filled of poets who have killed themselves, endured electroshock therapy, were committed to asylums, or were declared insane.  You might recognize some of them.  You might like their works.  Their presence is not an indictment of them, nor is it meant to exploit them.  I see them as the wounded warriors for truth.  The bleeding corporal flesh of humanity.  We are not the corporate Christ figure, only Christ is that, but, I see these figures as the casualty count of knowing the true count of the wages of living in the world we inhabit.

We don't have to know,
only to be:
let go the jumble of worn words,
reason and vanity.

  • Star by Day.
  • HD ... Hilda Doolittle

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