Criticism

 

Sometimes it seems silly to set words

Like beads on a string,

Trying to make meaning out of clay and gems,

Each word with its glint of song and significance,

Each pause paced soundly like a wooden

Wedge, stretching the fabric drum-taut and resonant.

Without order the words themselves are meaningless

Packages of what we

Observe, feel, taste, hear, smell,

Hypothesize, conclude,

Or otherwise cannot make sense of.

And in linear order the words,

Like a freight train chugging across flat country,

Carry their load flatly

And disappear.

But when words are set against each other,

Each one turning back, swooping inward,

Folded out of the flat plane, meshed,

Moving, woven, turned

With the glitter uppermost,

And forced to sing to each other, sometimes

A shimmering web of words so wrought

Has strength to carry life.

Sometimes it seems silly but then,

What isn’t?

 

December, 1971

Revised January 11, 1975