• Jane Engleman


Updated: Oct 19, 2020

Why aren’t poets perfectly clear? Why do we have to be so difficult, or stupid, either too plain or pompous? What is it with poetry in the Euro-American tradition? Why does it sometimes sound like a pileup on the freeway? And what about that rap? What’s up with that?

I have thought about the evolution of syllables, like the origin of culture. EuroAm science says humans arrived as the mitosis of a chemical anomaly. One chunk of religion says we descended directly out of an unmarried homeless couple created ex-nihilo from a lump of clay. Some Indigenous people have heard we were blown as sparks of matter out of a cataclysm, flown by the wind to various continents. Only the gods are certain. We may have different sources. But there does not seem to be a single human living now that did not have a mother, who was also born in isolation, alone from the bone and muscle of an other. We may have been born with an unconscious intelligence (which is why some feral babies survive), but we all must learn our first meaning.

As babies, our expression consists of a burp, a wiggle and a wail, and language evolves, the way we express ourselves changes. Creativity in communication. comes standard in most groups of humans, if not individuals. We can imagine our first word, maybe “WHAAAAGH,” maybe “What?,” maybe “WHY!!!?” And our environments respond. Our mothers feed us, or the wolves eat us or we’re found on the doorstep of a convent. And when we successfully survive, we begin the attempt to thrive. We become more creative, and we usually get more out of it the more creative we become. Now we ask for milk and get milk. Now we ask for chocolate/vanilla ice cream in the milk and get a little shake. Now we order a White Russian and have a fun time.

If you need to be easy, be easy. It's easy. If you love extreme sports, just go, just go. It's easy. Poets are complex. Our needs are infinite, to communicate the complexity of our sorry selves to a complexity of a planet, and perhaps the interplanetary. Creativity in wording is essentially a way to meet physical needs primarily, and then, because we are created of so many dimensions, a way to feed ourselves emotionally and cognitively. Duh. It was that way the first time, and it is that way now. Speak the music that owns you. Enrich or soften your spaces.

#poetry #arts and crafts

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