Friday, July 24, 2015

“Philologia: Such is this gift, that bites as it gives”

Each word, a name. A gift
to bind together and draw apart,
granted from a settled throne
crafted of collected expressions,

The queen’s a veil of incense between slate
and stars, whispering her dreams. Sometimes,
she howls, sometimes, she sings.

I cannot see the king, but his decrees
dictate this castle of universe, the etiquette of
interaction, court.

There is
comfort in them woven,
absence in their wake:
my king, the symbols,
my queen, their meanings,
together sweep us through (systemic
spells of aid and debt.)

Royal favors, words, and royal angers, too:
waves of welcome, banishment
twined atop the Omniscient
Word-King’s Scepter,
one dip weighing us all
like a scale with a feather.
One flick cremates, the other embalms,
both stuff our casings with meaning.

What tax must we pay for such privilege?

Beware their lexi-cons, precarious declarations
possessing us all. We drown, word filled or
word less. We drown and we find
our names are carved on the dotted lines
along the bottom of the settled throne.

-for Real Toads’ Get Listed – July, you have to use 3 of the following words: taxman, heat, prison, fear, mail, inevitable, premise, sovereign, system, advice, beware, & kept.

I think I used 2-and-2-halves of these words: sovereign, beware, system(ic), & tax (which is half of “taxman”).

This poem actually started as a reflection on several Real Toads’ Tuesday Challenge poems (Susie Clevenger's "Crumpled Scent" and Crayfish's "Over Tea - TB"), combined with a quote from Maria Popova over at Brain Pickings: “To name a thing is to acknowledge its existence as separate from everything else that has a name; to confer upon it the dignity of autonomy while at the same time affirming its belonging with the rest of the namable world; to transform its strangeness into familiarity, which is the root of empathy. To name is to pay attention; to name is to love.”

The painting is one of my earlier abstracts. I think it looks a little like an imploring dolphin, surrounded by an overwhelming world. Fittingly, it's drowned under layers and layers of other paint, becoming a (hidden) palimpsest.


Outlawyer said...

The dotted line can be very powerful--as can a name==a very original poem, thanks. k.

Sumana Roy said...

"I cannot see the king, but his decrees
dictate this castle of universe, the etiquette of
interaction, court.".......this is the fulcrum of the the expression 'castle of universe'....

hedgewitch said...

There is an intricate play here that not just discusses but lets us experience the power of words, and names. I especially like what you've done with kings and queens and their lexi-cons. The painting is a fascinating accompaniment.

Ella said...

Brilliant! You remind me of a Tarot Card called, The Drowned Man.
I love your poem~

C.C. said...

Very fascinating....right from the quote that inspired it to the title, to the use of royalty to tell the it three times and found new things to enjoy each time.

grapeling said...

far more lush than I could have hoped for with that spare list - you've elevated the taxman into something more deserving of praise. thank you for adding your voice ~