Thursday, May 31, 2012

Random Seed Poetry 3: "Sight"

Seed words: cross, blessed, engine, astronomy, con
If you don't know what this means, read the first post in the series for an explanation.


The purest truth dissatisfies;
knowledge will ruin me.
An honest con with laser sight
never sees perfectly.
The engine's not the motive force,
it only carries it.
Before the fact, a vision forms,
something more beautiful.

Commentary: Alright, the random word generator is screwing with me now. The day that I have promised to write about something other than religion, the first two words it gives me are "cross" and "blessed." In any case, I did manage to write about something else, although I'm honestly not as happy with how this one turned out as compared to the last two. That may be due in part to two new structural things that I'm trying here. Firstly, I deviated from my usual tendency to use a single repeated metrical foot; instead, the lines alternated between iambic and dactylic meter, which I think gave it an interesting sort of staggered rhythm. Secondly, I wrote it unrhymed — which may not seem like a big deal, but rhyme is usually what I use to tie my poems together, aesthetically. Without rhyme, it risks seeming less cohesive, which might actually have happened — you'll have to tell me.

The topic is probably not very clear. I didn't state things very directly in this one. What I'm getting at is the notion that the experience of something is often more beautiful than the understanding of it. When analysis runs too deep, it can undercut and completely miss the things that made the investigation worthwhile to begin with. And yes, I am painfully aware that this sounds rather reminiscent of a certain pair of rapping clowns, but just because the way they say it is so inane, that doesn't mean there isn't any validity to the philosophical notion that they are trying to discuss. Except, unlike them, I'm not going to go around shouting angrily about scientists.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Random Seed Poetry 2: "Theodicy of a Cynic"

Seed words: staff, partitioning, flour, circuitry, consequence
If you don't know what this means, read the first post in the series for an explanation.

"Theodicy of a Cynic"

Among the dead, some live instead,
no less deserved of death,
the consequence of actions hence
defied with ev'ry breath.
The wrath of God, through Aaron's rod,
was illustrated plain,
but these few laugh and mock the staff
and yet they still remain.

Our laws defied and vilified
by villains and their gall,
we can't avoid that we're devoid
of any laws at all.
No justice then, within our ken,
appears to be at play,
and we cannot describe our lot
with what the prophets say.

Commentary: I know, there seems to be a pattern forming here. I'll try to get onto a new topic tomorrow. I suppose my religious views have been on my mind a lot the past couple of days, but to my credit this is at least about a different aspect of them. Here the title is fairly on-the-nose. It's a somewhat cynical discussion of theodicy (which is the field of religious studies concerned with answering the question, "Why does God allow evil to exist?"). The speaker of this poem isn't really me, it should be noted. I don't share these views precisely. It's simply a perspective which I find interesting to consider, and which arrives at a similar conclusion to mine.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Random Seed Poetry 1: "Trinity"

Inspired in large part by Jonathan Coulton's Thing a Week and Jonathan Mann's Song a Day, I have decided to take on a similar (but far less ambitious) project. Every day, I will randomly generate 5 common nouns and use two of them in a new poem. I will publish them to this blog as I complete them, along with a commentary of some sort (since, unlike many writers, I like explaining my work). Let's see how long I can keep this up!

Seed words: socialist, known, contraception, prayer, receiving


I can't remember my last prayer
  living in this earthly box
there once was power in the air
  sealed away with cosmic locks
in lack of faith, I'm like a stone
  so sure am I, so solid here
I drop the soul and keep the known
  I place my faith in what is near

Commentary: This poem discusses my drift towards agnosticism and eventually atheism, which occurred over the course of my adolescence. I tried something new and possibly gimmicky with this. Try reading the poem three times — once in its entirety, once skipping the indented lines, and once skipping the unindented lines — and think of each as a distinct poem. The idea is to show a sort of internal back-and-forth, with different perspectives emerging from the conflict. The name is suggestive of both the Holy Trinity which I used to worship and the trinitarian nature of the poem itself.
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