October 8th, 2003

breaking bad

The head is not more native to the heart

Nick has remined us that tomorrow is National Poetry Day, and this seems as good a moment as any to share a poem. I've posted poems by other people a few times, but I thought I might show you something I did myself.

I kind of based this on the feel of old-English poetry.

1 - Each line is divided into two sections, with a pause (caesura) between them
2 - Each half of the line can have as many syllables as you like, but only two stressed sylables

I know real old english poetry has more complex rules than these BTW, but those are the ones I decided to adopt. I'm also trying to convey the idea that opposites combine into a new whole, so there is a third rule, which I invented.

3- You can read the poem two ways. You can read the right hand and left hand sides as two separate verses, and the third verse is read across each line in the conventional way. The three verses are complementary. Hopefully the final reading is the most optimistic.

BTW - and finally - I wrote the poem that follows twenty years ago. Don't be too harsh.

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breaking bad

Things fall apart

Teresa Nielsen Hayden posts from time to time about compulsive collectors, animal hoarders, 'garbage houses' and the like. Not sure why she is so interested in the subject, but it exerts a horrible fascination for me too. Her latest post is so sad that I can't discuss it. Following back some of the posts she has made over the past year on the subject I came again on this article, which is moving and tragic.

That's the culture we're traveling in," Mackenzie says. "Not much about its effects can be demonstrated scientifically, remember, but we can agree it gets to feeling pretty crazy after a while. How do you know what's of value and what's not? All the ads, all the news scream out that 'this is important, this is essential!' And somewhere in the imagination the idea gets planted: Without this stuff, I'm without protection. I'm lost. Anything could happen. The possibilities seem infinite, in part, I suppose, because there's so little evidence that as individuals we can control much of anything. Take technology--it's hyped as 'access to information,' as x, y, and z, the solution to the crises. As freedom--from anxiety, from fear. But it turns out that instead of being liberating, it's imprisoning. It's overload."

Perhaps this is the downside of the social change described by cdybedahl here.

Can I please add that I am not talking about ordinary mess. I live in a messy house. I am talking about people whose lives have collapsed, and the only appropriate response is compassion, and to accept that it is our responsibility to help when we can.