poetry


I don’t talk much about poetry (the theme) anymore, and I’ve always found it difficulty answering questions such as “what is poetry to you?” and “what is your relationship with poetry?”, (not that I get deluges of questions, I certainly do not). Some days ago, I was reading about Albert Tarantola, and I thought, why not view it through the perspective of an inverse problem?
That is the origin of this (quite) simple composition,
thank you for reading,
João-Maria.

Published by João-Maria

A tick clinging to the bristles of a purple boar.

68 thoughts on “poetry

    1. “We work with the substantial, but the emptiness is what we use.”

      And, in some senses, that is more or less correct, but is becoming less and less correct. Even my poetry (and I’d even say: especially my poetry) is thronged with the scent of re-purpose and re-eclosion.
      It’s even more interesting to think of utilitarian associations, then, because where Lao Tzu sees space being created in pots and houses, space which is then the purpose of their making, I see division, but perhaps the space is the purpose of the pot and division is the method of its making. And thus, we have a theory for poetry as well, in a very similar sense.
      Sorry, Huzaifa, it’s Saturday, I’m prone to… maunder on. Thank you for your kindness; for reading.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Bruce, I’ve been reading you for the past hour, you’ve such a lustre to your writing; a gleam, almost bronzen, warm. It’s fine if you don’t follow me at all, but I will absolutely be on your tail.
      I follow a small few folks out here, and only now am I starting to find the right ones. People that are talented and genial, since God knows how sombrously lonely literature can be.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks so much João-Maria! I have already read you lovely comment about six times! I think nearly everyone, except a few, are simply trying to sell me a book.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I don’t have a singular book to sell, Bruce! I’m twenty-four and live in littoral Portugal. I have to drive 40 km for the nearest bookshop, thus, I’d be lucky if I could even buy one, let alone sell it.
        And I’m far too puerile to ask anyone for money. I’m wholly grateful for the kindness, and for the chance to read you. Stay as long as you may, and don’t feel obliged to read my unintelligible paroxysms.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I too am 40ish km from a bookshop – which is possibly why I read things online and my book-reading glasses are fuzzy and dated. I shall investigate you current home town. I find doing such things to be interesting. I live in Stratford New Zealand next to a volcano (that is currently sleeping!)

        Liked by 2 people

      4. I don’t have my hometown publicly on my blog, only Lisbon, which is where I more-or-less spent a good deal of my life. My hometown is a little bit north of Montejunto, near the rock-pears.
        I envy your location; New Zealand must be such a lavishly beautiful place, and especially North Island.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. The South Island is a lot more spectacular than the North. North Portugal looks mountainous and lovely. The closest I’ve been to Portugal is France.Visiting there now is just a dream!

        Liked by 2 people

      6. I’ve been all over, actually; my parents were never too bounteous, but whatever money they could scratch together, they would take us traveling.
        Oceania is the only continent that I never visited, and I think it wasn’t so much due to pricing, but distance. Those long voyages, with children, are especially laborious, and one can only lucubrate so far until it stops feeling like a vacation. New Zealand is still a dream that I intend to fulfill, however, and places such as Lake Taupo are absolute dreams for me, hence why I see North Island as so magnetic.
        I don’t know much about South Island.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Montejunto looks like a wonderful place to live. I just spent some time in trying to learn how to pronounce your name, It seems to start with a sound we don’t have in English – so I’ve been practising – not that I’ll need to use it.

        Liked by 2 people

      8. Hahaha; originally, I thought of changing my name so I had some sort of amplitude in the English written world, but I quickly dropped that pretension once I saw how immensely talented others were in a language which, at the end of the very day, isn’t my own, and I will never master completely. I just decided, then, that I might as well use my own name.
        The ão is an exclusive nasal diphthong, which means you would need to use your nose to pronounce to concurrent nasal vowels, which is rare among nearly any language, including Romantic languages close to Portuguese, like Spanish or Italian.
        It’s indeed a hard combo to correctly pronounce for any foreigner, even harder than ãe, which is its sister-diphthong.
        The English equivalent is John-Mary, and even more popular is my French equivalent, whence my name actually derives, Jean-Marie.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. I don’t mind bringing my nose into play when dealing with other people’s names. I dislike my name and like you thought of changing it in the writing world. I have never been good at languages – perhaps it’s because my partner is Romanian and is fluent in 9. I don’t seem to have an ear for it. One of the things (actually two of the things) that I like about your poetry is that you have a greater sensitivity to nuances of English words than a native English speaker might have. So you use words I would never think of. Secondly, I kind of like it when you take (what I think) is a Portuguese word and twist it around somehow that it sounds right in English! Fantastically expressive!

        Liked by 3 people

      10. I’m a bit overfond of words; languages are imperfectible, which makes them distensable, and I like to fiddle with that plasticity. It’s not so much for snobbery or for absurdism, although I’ve been accused of both, and I understand how and why someone would get that idea.
        It means a ton to me that you like my poetry, whatever the reason; it truly does. I’m not very confident in what I do, but I am a hard worker, and I do my absolute best.
        And yes, I do mischievously translate a lot of words from Portuguese into English by typing out “englishised” guesses of said word and usually getting it right. You were the first to ever pick up on that. I’m unmasked, haha!

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Oh, thank you!
        I try to engage as best I can, so the comments are just a bunch of dull back-and-forths.
        You’re welcome to explore as freely as you wish!

        Like

  1. Sometimes
    you meet someone
    who feeds you a new vibe,
    so delicately
    you can barely taste it –
    but the flavour lingers on your heart,
    making you wonder
    whether you should have reached in
    and swum a little in those floating stars.

    So you stand there,
    alone,
    second-guessing yourself…

    wondering whether you should retrace your steps.

    But the trail is cold.

    All you have is the sound of laughter
    from a party you were not expected to attend.

    It mars the silence a little,
    so you drown it out
    with music downloaded fron the streetlights

    You wonder whether to write it, too –
    but that’d be like going to the party.

    — sometimes, the poetry thing kinda feels like that.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Wow; now I want to challenge everyone to define their poetry by inversion. A casus belli, if you will.

      You’re a wonderful creator, John (my name-bother), I’m so delighted to have you with me.

      Like

  2. Another lovely poem full of contradictions, though I love the way you describe this as your ‘quite’ simple composition. If it’s usually taking me about three goes to get my head around your simple poems you’re going to have to put a health warning on the complicated ones, otherwise the poor commoners such as me will trot away dejected thinking that overnight we’ve suddenly become exceedingly dumb!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I mean simpler in contrast to a whole spring, katabasis and taste of salt, all of which were a lot denser in the way they were constructed, I suppose.
      I assure you that I see you as no commoner, but perhaps it’s not that they are hard to understand, but more that they are… bad? In the sense that they aren’t translated clearly or in clear manners. I promise you that, were I able to write better, I would, but there isn’t a direct parity between understanding a poem and intellect, Paul; poems are not particularly designed to align completely with clear communication or transmission, otherwise, we would be writing prose. I understand Stevens Comedian as the Letter C quite clearly, but I’ve always had trouble understanding Dante, especially Paradiso. This doesn’t mean that I’m smart or dumb, it means only that neither Dante nor Stevens wrote those poems with me in mind, and that, by chance or alignment, my brain ended up understanding the likeness of Stevens better than that of Dante.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love your explanation, especially the comparison you gave between Stevens and Dante. I am walking away already with a new found spring in my step, thank you sir!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I can never understand if you’re being sarcastic or not, but I suppose that’s my side of the bargain of communicative difficulties!
        I hope I haven’t offended you in any way, Paul; I genuinely appreciate your work and I promise that I’m doing as best as I can, and see myself above nobody in regards to anything.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I genuinely love your explanation; Stevens is one of my favourite poets, and you are right that being tuned into the wavelength of the poet is no sign of intellectual ability, though intellect would certainly not be a hindrance in understanding your poetry, since you are clearly blessed with the same. I do like to try to understand all poems I read even though, like us all, I am naturally drawn to certain types of poetry. My reason for this is, because like all of us, I am still learning ….

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Oh, that gives me some peace… I suppose they shall become easier to understand, perhaps when I have a sounder architecture to build upon; a more expressive, confident voice. Perhaps with age. I surely hope so.
        Thank you for your patience, and for your kindness, of course. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  3. A lot of the time I read your poetry and have no idea what you’re saying, but that’s nothing to do with you – I just don’t get it the first ten times.
    And then I get it.
    Sometimes.
    But do you know what?
    If I never ‘got it’ again, I would still read your poetry because it’s so rich it forces me to concentrate on every single word. Probably no surprise coming from a guy whose biggest problem some days is trying to find two words that rhyme…
    Your Faithful Student,
    John Ormsby

    Liked by 3 people

    1. John,
      I don’t know quite what to say. I sometimes write for myself, and that takes a very different form from how I write here. I have this added responsibility, you know? Walcott said that, if you know what your poem is about before you write it, it’s unlikely to be good. That’s how I write, regardless of what Walcott says. I never quite know what I’m doing, thus, I try to do my best to enrich the confusion; give is bevel and emboss, sheen and stroke, make it preternatural and rich, make it mine and twist it until it’s not, so that I’m sure that, even if it isn’t good, it’s worth the while of being.
      I’m definitely no genius, nor am I particularly enlightened (especially not enough to teach), but I’m incredibly lucky, because I have readers like you. That much is undeniable.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your poetry is so thoughtful, thought-provoking, and beautiful … I love it. You should totally sell a book! If not hard copies, try Kindle or some other e-book form. Best wishes : )

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, Emily, thank you! That means a lot.
      I think it’s still too messy to be sold, too clouded. But, with a bit of work, it won’t take long to change that.
      Really, thank you so much!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As a writer and an artist, I get that it is easy to see the flaws. Really, though, your poems are better than you think. Start somewhere, even if it’s small. Let me know if you ever do put together a book … I’ll buy it!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you. I can finally say that I have (1) person interested in buying something I’ve made. This is dreamlike for anyone who wants to author, although, I always thought I’d be published for my prose, never for my poetry.
        I will be sure to inform you if I ever have anything that can be purchased, and I will be sure to make it cheap 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Love how the poem starts. Its unorthodox but still paints a clear picture. Also the imagery is quite powerful. who would have though that the phrase “time was a false flower” is one of the best comparisons I have ever heard.

    Like

    1. I actually didn’t explore that symbol in (style), but time as a false flower is quite the zesty draw. The concept that resists the concept; time itself, eroding, unerodible. The false flower, itself brimming with life, itself unliving.
      I’m glad you liked how it starts! I’m normally awful with beginnings and ends, so thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Violet, if you don’t mind, where did you find this poem? For some reason, this specific one gets an absurd amount of attention.
      Answer only if you can, and thank you!

      Like

  6. Hey, I really liked this poem. Great job.
    And to answer the question you asked to the previous person Violet, this poem is easily noticeable on WordPress reader. Keep writing, i’d love to follow your work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Kaustubh, that’s awesome to hear. And thank you for elucidating me. I suppose it appears dead-on in the “poetry” tag? That might be it? The algorithms work in mysterious ways.

      Like

  7. Your dream lays down an interesting interpretation. Last time I jumped to too hasty a conclusion about the meaning—but got somewhere after reading it.

    This time, my subconscious is doing something else. It’s taking the tiger, and making it be the Rioters in my country, tearing down the statues. And this poem, to me, is a lament of poetry being fed to the Tigers who want everything to have a simple meaning, and the Boy swatting down the Swallow’s nest is the feeling of the petulant, spoiled brats swatting down—I don’t want to say civilization, but rather, they are swatting down—complexity. That the swallow becomes one with the boy who swats down his nest, that’s an interesting metaphor; it’s almost like the spoiled children are building something.

    As it is, I also understand in this poem that your poetry is not meant to have an essential meaning, but rather, is meant to be understood by motion.

    Good poem, like always. I almost wish you and I could revive the art back to its original glory.

    Peace!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What I also see in the poem is a notion of subtlety. Again, I understand what you actually mean—the thing I said about the tiger was just my interpolation, since last time you found it amusing—,but I’m not as good at expressing what I get out of this. Mostly because I try to say things in a few sentences, but obviously can’t.

    Like, the subtlety of thought. That’s where I’m getting at. Poems express subtlety of thought, and emotion, they move from place to place, in motion—they drift from thought to thought, they move experientially for both reader and writer. There’s not necessarily going to be a crystalized meaning.

    With that, might be the reason you include the motif of “Extinction.”

    I’m so bad at interpreting your poems, but I enjoy them as much as anyone else on my bookshelf. It reminds me of Ezra Pound, but his earlier stuff. Not his later work.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is the last time I’m commenting, but as always, your poetry is very good. You should publish on Amazon.com, or at least try to publish. I would purchase this.

    If I could express what you’re saying as eloquently as you do, then I’d be writing the poem. Hopefully my previous comments weren’t noisome to you, but they were how I genuinely feel. I’m less captivated by the conceit “Time was a false flower,” and I’m really interested in one line, in particular. I’ll quote it:

    “That I can determine what he taught me,
    With the mere use of its importance.”

    This line is very meaningful. I have had this same idea. It’s where my mind is ruminating, that I can understand your metaphor. I just can’t put it into words. Poetry is what it is.

    There was another comment on the forum asking you what it meant. I understand what it means, but like all of your poems, it needs to be understood in context, which is why my idiotic analyses always fall short.

    But, the tiger does remind me of those kids tearing down the statues. There’s an interpolation that I always seem to find in your poems that don’t belong there. But, the meaning—as is also true with your poems—can keep me thinking for an entire day’s worth of time.

    Please get published. And send me a comment on one of my poems when you do. I’ll buy the book because I don’t think we’re extinct. Not yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. B.K., all your comments ended up in spam somehow, I’ve only just seen them. There is a sister post to this one named (style), https://caliath.com/2020/06/05/style/
      It explores some of the things you propound here, but not entirely. I must admit that, was I in todays mindset, I would not have composed this poem in this manner, though in hindsight that is nearly always the case. The scope of the poem insofar as it touches the extinction of the absurd, which is a theme it centralises, is a bit diluted under the pretence that the poem is about the theme of poetry itself, which naturally predisposes you to search for it, as if I, in a classical sense, was providing you an answer. It is a linguistic oversight of mine and I do regret it.
      I do not wish to be published in my current state for problems such as these, and because my evolution often bars me from ever feeling like a work has the finish I’d consider adequate. It’s an interminable tug.
      I thank you for the care you’ve given me and I surely shall check your works as soon as I’m able. I didn’t do so before since, if I recall correctly, your blog was disabled.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. My blog is back. Some of the best poets wrote copious notes to help their readers understand it. In Southey’s work I have, there’s copious amounts of context at the beginning of each poem, and in Byron’s works, it comes with his handwritten notes. Context is everything with good writing. I’ll look over this poem with your current notes included. And I would highly recommend publishing. Good poetry is difficult, and often you can spend years mastering it. Prufrock, for example, took me about three years to master. So with all of Eliot’s work. To fully comprehend a poet, you need a biography, sometimes notes and to be familiar with most of their work.

    But don’t be afraid of people getting your poetry wrong. If that’s what’s keeping you from publishing, people like to figure out mysteries. It’s what I was taught poetry was by my eleventh grade English teacher. Poetry is like a puzzle. You have to read it several dozen times to really understand it. And frankly, your poetry is good.

    Liked by 1 person

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