Thursday, September 29, 2005

Examples of Different Forms

Here are two poems with the same topic, but different forms, and therefore different meanings. Look them over more and consider the way the differences in forms created differences in meaning. Think about how important good writing is to meaning, and consideration of the importance of form should be if you want to be a good writer.

Antichaos (Sapphic Verse)

The beautiful chaos of river flowing
As time you step out of, into, the living
Unchanging emergence of antichaos
Breaking on mud banks --

Is this the world, bright in the light of sunshine
That brings a remarkable living chaos
And deadly order to the continental
Flow as an earthquake?

The winds are drying and are bringing moisture
To lands the sun parched, and the atmosphere is
Unchanged and changed, bringing a breeze, a gentle
Breath, and then lightning.

The white hurricane on the seas are ordered,
An ocean, atmosphere together, swirling
In chaotic flows on the seas and landing
Hard on the dry land.

And living things, rivers of earth and sea crawl
Across the land, swim in the seas a chaos
That swirls into timeful emergent rivers
Crawling on mud banks.

Antichaos (Alcaics)

Flow river, chaos breaks on the banks, and you,
Time, living order, changing in change itself,
Break chaos up to order merging
Flows of the water with earthly order.

Bright sunshine killing, loving tenderness
Light brings to lands that flow on the liquid flow –
Hot magma moving lands now crashing –
Earthquakes are turning the land to chaos.

Dry winds are parching lands into deserts where
Cacti won’t live. Moisture comes on the winds and there
Rains change the land from death to living
Breath and the lightning will light the dark sky.

White hurricane of sea and air are in
Time flows of swirling chaos and ordering
Matrices breaking land with winds which
Bring to the land and to us the ocean.

Life burst from rivers – earth and the sea are now
One river swirling time. The smooth chaos will
Bring order, life emergent, water
Solid with crystals that make them crawl forth.


Elyce Ellington said...

It seems like you were sitting on a riverbank, DR. T, and then you idly decided to write a poem about what you saw.

Dr. T said...

What do you make of the differences between the two poems? What do you think each of them means? Do they mean the same thing? If not, why not?

Mary said...

I am sure your conclusion in sentence one is illogic. Why must different forms necessarily assume different meaning? Cannot they be (forms) different in form but same in meaning?

As for the importance of form, only the human mind can overwhelm bad form, if it wants, and glean the same meaning. Now I must go look for the same meaning, for proof.

Dr. M

Mary said...

Apple Jack

Fallen apples bruise, the better for those
Who prey on such, such fallen fells
As these which lay around my apple trees
Awaiting the invasion of the ants.

Chance is, I like them too, and munch on one
While gazing on this fallen feast, this manna
From the sky. There is a kind of insect
Not an ant, but one that bores inside it--

Bit by bit it bores, the apple worm whose
Life begins and ends in apples pending,
Whose fall bequeaths it new beginnings there
Beneath on earth where crushed-in apples lay;

Pray my ending ends so well as these did,
Harboring hopes of home within their rotting flesh,
Fresh food for future generations; hope my
Bruising somehow breeds a new condition,

Rendition of my being. Like rotten apples
Wormy to the core, let me be pressed out
With a turning vise, squeezed of every drop;
Wind up at last a swig of apple jack.

Bruised apples are an advantage to the worms who live and die in them; so to to us I hope I come out in the end like a drink of apple jack, the essence of all my bruised being distilled and enjoyed. These things I think while munching on an apple under my apple tree, manna from above.

Mary said...

I meant illogical, not illogic--forgive all the typoes. The question is why or why not clain different meanings for different forms?

Dr. T said...

There is a religious element to the poem that does not exist in the summary. We can see references to Adam and Eve and the apple and the fall in this line: "Whose fall bequeaths it new beginnings there" -- indeed, the fall gave them new begninnings. And the poem carries with it the hope of new beginnings from what appears to be rotten. This is suppored by the use of the word "prayer". Both use the word "manna," but in the summary, it seems like an afterthought, while in the poem is contributes to the Judeo-Christian overtones.

So, as you can see, the form did manage to make meaning.

Mary said...

Very nice response; thank you for putting the time into it. I will try to do the same to your two poems (beyond merely observing that the second is far more beautiful). It is a fascinating question, re meaning, because it gets at what is there for us in common, objectively. I admit I have been a bit of the devil's advocate with you, and promise to reform. I also promise to be less sloppy with my paraphrase (summary)-- and maybe that's a whole new question, since you pitted poem against poem and I poem against prose (with typoes no less). In short you presented a better comparison. I'll also read on because I am very much interesting in the aesthetics of evolution--it is central to what I am writing about to, in fable form.

Dr. M.

Dr. T said...

My point was precisely that when you are forced to use different poetic forms, you end up creating meaning you may not have even intended to put in. Poetic forms forces us to be better poets than we are -- or, perhaps, to become the poets we truly are, despite ourselves.