19 September 2011

The silence, it is deep.

There is a lot to be said for the music in poetry. I mean most of all poetry is some kind of lyric, guided by the cadences and rhythms of verse, the rhyme scheme, and the play on words and sounds.

Take the Shakespearean line:

Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard

It takes its musical cues from Old English prosody, a system that placed a heavy emphasis on alliteration and balanced lines.

Borne / on the bier / with white / and brist/ -ly beard

Bolded letters alliterate, underlined syllables are accented. By the way, the line refers to someone old being carried away in a coffin.

And the line's ability to control the sound through prosody, alliteration, rhyme and other sound techniques is all in service of the one soudn that the poem leads up to.

The ending silence. The silence you reach at the end that allows the poem to resonate back through your mind. Though the poem has ended, you still hear the voice of the reader echoing the last few lines.


As if you were in a cavern.

This is the pay off, this is where we sense the depth of a poem in that resonant, deep cavern when the speech goes silent, but it starts to echo back.

At first, you don't recognize that the poem has ended, that the speaker has stopped speaking. But when you do, you're hit with both the silence and the echo. The poem turns into a ghost and it haunts you and then it settles in a moment and is at peace.

It is not unlike the silence instead a coma. Only in a coma, the settling doesn't happen in a moment. The settling doesn't happen at all. You sleep in it, and you wake in it. And it and the dark penetrates you. It is like being in an unnatural cavern where there is no echo, there is only silence.

And it is deep and menacing because you become the tree that falls in the forest that doesn't make a sound because no one is there. Not even you.

The coma erased me, erased the first draft of me. And it becomes clear to me why I've been writing so much about the coma.

I want the first draft back. I want it to be returned to me so I can exist again. So I don't feel like my second draft self has been abandoned here on this planet, in this body that will one day be "borne on the bier with white and bristly beard."

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