Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sewing & Sowing Words

We’re artisans who sew and sow words.  We sew and sow words for, among other things, organizing, molding, and embellishing the world in which we’re thrust and thrust ourselves.  Words are powerful tools that must be handled with care.  And, yet, too often when sewing and sowing language:

We sew a word Frankenstein
From new and shoveled parts
With no idea of the line
Of monsters that it starts . . . .

In addition to carelessly sewing and sowing such powerful words, we make another common error.  We forget such powerful words are our tools, that in our relationship with words, we are the masters and words are the servants.  We forget that when words don’t fit the world, we should bend the words and not the world.  In proper frames of mind, we thus laugh at Zeno who was paralyzed by syllables claiming he couldn’t possibly eat, race, or even take off his coat, a parody that bears repeating:

Zeno Phobia

With flawless logic Zeno bowed to proof
He could not eat a meal while it was hot
(Since moving spoons would put spoons where they're not,
A contradiction of such wares).  Aloof

In flawless logic Zeno bowed to proof
He couldn’t win a race however hot
The chase (since endless points on lines cannot
Be crossed as needed to advance).  Aloof

In flawless logic Zeno bowed to proof
He could not doff his cloak when he was hot
(Since it was where it was and thus could not
Be elsewhere, too, in doffing it).  Aloof

In perfect sense and nonsense, he betrayed
The fool who merely did as grammar said.

Remembering we’re masters not servants of words, we thus have no trouble answering the sphynx’s riddle:

   Graffiti on the Sphinx

The Sphinx displayed a riddle on its side:
“They spawn ‘worlds’ including, too, themselves.”
Some answered with “at least two mirrors” while
The lettered Sphinx kept “words” inside itself.

Remembering we’re masters not servants of words (however powerful those words may be), we’re also not duped by those who claim their “natural” should be ours as well:


The “natural” opposes nature.  It
Would change the thing itself, tame the untame
And hitch some substitute up to a name.
Ineffable, things in themselves won’t fit
With any words though “natural” would try.

Where Arden keeps her sanctuary, I
Withdraw with Dukes and Rosalinds, with Jaques,
And Ennises, beyond false prophets, hacks,
Prudes, bigots and all other perverts who
Use “natural” to “measure” what they do.

Remembering we’re masters not servants of words, we also won’t let self-proclaimed “moral leaders” mislead us with words (however powerful) that won’t stand the test of experience:

    False Preachers in Their Wilderness of Guilt

Their dictionaries tell them that midday
Lies equidistant from sunrise, sunset
No matter length of day.  Their alphabet
Requires the sun to rise and set each day.

As noon carves days into their equal halves,
Word preachers in their wilderness of guilt
Condemn with certainty that certain tilt
And inclination terra firma has

To thrust its pole in un-straight solstice wards
That raise the sun by dropping it, that force
Opposing acts at once and thus of course
Unravel scripture by unraveling words.

“That cannot be!”  The word-wound preacher says.
“There’s sin in arctic winter solstices!”

Remembering we’re masters not servants of words, we will not let self-proclaimed “moral leaders” remake themselves with words that won’t stand the test of experience:

   A False Preacher after Picking Pears

Much like Augustine, he’d misspent his youth
Whose remnants left a slimy, snail-like trail
Of failed employment and debauchery
That marked the way to categories that

Entombed him under shameful epitaphs.
Though boxed in darkness there invisible,
He saw the light, rolled back the heavy stone
And re-emerged by force of words alone.

He married, started preaching, and thereby
Could do no wrong in God’s own language. Thus
Self-wrapped in righteous trappings, he had purged
Himself.  He found men paid him for it, too,

As well they should: by definition price
Is fair in open markets of advice.

Remembering we’re masters not servants of words, we can thus reject narrow Tertullian types (who think their philosophies have all the answers) and embrace instead broader Justin Martyr types (who agree that there is more in heaven and earth than is dreamt of in any one philosophy):

Tertullian’s Sonnet

Why think of Athens?  What has it to do
With God’s Jerusalem?  I would refrain
From mixing categories.  I’d retain
Clear thinking, would not mix up “Greek” and “Jew”

As I would never jumble up the “snow”
With “rain” or “moon” with “sun.”  I would be true
To God and his Creation, never skew
The Earth and Heavens.  Thus, I suffered no

Theologies that threatened to distract
Us from the Lord, was careful to dispel
The pagan, segregate him safe in Hell.
I never let words bind God or subtract

From him--credo quia absurdum est.
I would be judged as well by such a test.

            Justin Martyr’s Sonnet

A single Cyclops’ socket in the head
Would lack the depth-perception needed for
Good images of truth.  God added thus
A Christian eye to complement the Greek

Which means of course that God would not condemn
The virtuous pagan--doing so would pluck
The pagan eye reducing once again
Perception and our image of the truth.

It follows thus that Heaven must have shared
A Christian eye with Plato who now sees
With clarity at last the Form of Good.

The same must follow for all ancients who
Had virtue prior to the birth of Christ--
No calendar confines God’s sacrifice.

Remembering we’re masters not servants of words (however powerful they may be), all is thus fit for question.  We can, for example, even take time to question “time”:

   Time’s Sonnet

The conjugations of “good” grammars have
Time flowing from the past.  Yet, words allow
Diversity of current.  We say, too,
That time flows back from future days:
“The future is unfolding as we speak.”

Or does time just swirl round in circles so
Poor Judas hangs himself repeatedly?

Don’t currents cross?  But how? Must they not freeze
Since “current” cannot move beyond the “now”
And yet be current?  Yet it moves?  Time both
Conveys the ship and clock it threatens, too,
With icebergs of itself within itself?

Or does time just swirl round in circles so
Poor Judas hangs himself repeatedly?

In further questioning “time” as masters and not servants of words (however powerful those words may be), we thus know it’s never too late to embrace life even in life’s very last moments:

   Alive At Last

He’d feared he’d stopped too late
To conjugate “to be”
In life’s right grammar--right
Inflexions on the tongue
Had somehow not expressed
The reference.  Though am
That’s mirrored in the breath
That’s mastered early kept
A present orbit, too,
Somehow he’d foundered with
That heavier reference words
But modeled in the air,
Had long mixed am beyond
The bounds of sense into
The morrow, little marked
The nonce that limed the self,
Had lived not for today
But for tomorrow.  Old,
Yet physically still in
The present, now he had
Found morrow never holds
A beating heart.  Illumed,
He’d not lament the loss
On balance of his life.
Regret would transpose, too,
The tenses and espouse
The airy then for now,
Slip his gold wedding ring
On former clock hands whose
Now vacant substance would
Drop bands, recalling thus
Some meter he once read
Etched on a tilting wall:
Twelve Lines Of A Poor Bard
On Loving What Is Barred.
The hand that’s not, next hour’s,
Is never now’s or ours.
Embrace the moment.  Seize
Its hand, the one one sees,
And ring it, tie the knot.
Fools pine for what is not.
The morrow ducks the here
And now the live can’t hear
Or see past.  No gold band
Fits shadow fingers banned
From present altars.  Air
Would be their only heir.”

Remembering we’re masters not servants of words (however powerful those words may be), we shout:

Abominable of all abominables!
It’s worse than any butchery with a knife
When unfit words disfigure any life
Remolding it to fit mere syllables!

Remembering we’re masters and not servants of words, we remind ourselves once more that we can embrace life even if we have waited until life’s very last moments.  As long as life exists, words need not keep us from it.  Instead, words should help us find our true lives and purposes and hold them close.  Again:

Embrace the moment.  Seize
Its hand, the one one sees,
And ring it, tie the knot--
Fools pine for what is not!

© Harold Anthony Lloyd 2016

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