After reading the Day 723 content over on THE 800 DAYS BLOG, I find I actually disagree with the words... what's worse is, I haven't much of a leg to stand on because I'm arguing with poetry lol.
Damn, why does Blake have to write so much darned poetry all the time?
(I'll get back to this later - soon)
I do not, however, disagree with two versions (2 vids, different versions of the same tune) of Stairway To Heaven presented on the entry! WAAAAY COOL - the 2nd offering is with "Gregorian" vocalists! Nice.
Okay back to the disagreement stuff. Warning: I won't "win" this argument, it's not possible.
1. Poetry (according to mythbuster and not less than a few hundred THOUSAND others who study poetry) expression is more powerful and lasting than my argument can be, partly because it is a form for expression and, well, things must be expressed freely in order to facilitate commucation, messages, understanding and SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS... the poet, of course, begins the interaction and, as such, has the most rights in a disagreement. Besides after both the poet and dissenter are gone, the poetry still stands 'cos it was sent out into the world.
My interpretation (the reader) and reaction to the words/mood is always in relation to the first standing words... Poetry and words of the poet have the right to exist more than I have the ability to solidly disagree with the words.
Still, there is always truth in poetry...which trumps my reaction to it AND my opinion of it will always be a side-effect of the poetry while the poetry is what it is...
I've been asked a question for the past 5 years and received the same accompanying comments along with the question: Why don't you write more poetry? Your prose is often poetic, so why not just write poetry?
Answer: (short) cos' I'm a control freak lol !!!
Long answer - I want my words interpreted how I mean them and, although I love poetry, study it, use it, I am intimidated by both the power of it and the fact that once I issue it forth, it is not mine anymore. With this in mind, I'll have to say that Blake is braver and more open than I, I suppose... I am, however, still learning to interact with poetry in a more open way... I believe that once I gain clarity in my writings and am satisfied with this aspect in writing, I will feel more comfortable writing poetry and not feel I have to have so much control).
Now where was I?
Ohyeah - the exact issue of disagreement
2. What the words say to me:
"to never apologize for the burning of books." This hits a raw nerve with me as I am a collector of words (narrative, urban legends, witnessing/accounts of abuse and distress (as a mentor), Native story circles, etc) and I am part Native (Cree). Words are sacred to me (as they are, too - obviously - with Blake). The nerve part is probably that I am part Cree and understand a great deal about entire cultural references - including words - that have been obliterated, unrecoverable - from Cree culture and other Natives.
I'm probably having a hissy fit over just that one line - in fact it is just that one line that I abhor!
PROOF of the power of poetry.
I just wanted to stop and make the hissy fit as an explanation of the power of poetry because I feel that poetry is so often misunderstood as an art, as a vehicle for important statements, as a political vehicle for expression of ideas and emotions, and more. Poetry is so much more powerful and sacred than the average person knows or learns...in fact, "The Arts" are often (ie: book burning) attacked due to peoples' fear of their power.
I'm done my hissy fit and almost done my rant and will now jump over that one line that stirred so much (dare I say) aggression, discomfort and disagreement for me.
The poem, Burning Books , link supplied so you can have a look.
I do understand that the narrator of Blake's poem - whether that is intended to be Blake himself or the anonymous, unknown voice of the poem's speaker - is providing a possible viewpoint that says something like, "you likely couldn't read all those books that were burned, anyway" and "many were filled with lies, anyway" and those are also true statements...
However, in my experience, the act of burning books is a violation against humanity - not just the group/author of the books whose books are burned. It eliminates a fundamental human process - that of the experience of critical thinking and decision-making about what is or is not truth. The violation is an opportunity violently stolen away from every generation, past, present and future...with no opportunity of negotiation on this act. A book burned eliminates the past, robs the present generation of a truth or non-truth which must be sorted through, and obviously robs the future generations of the truth and non-truth, as well.
Strangely enough, this post has been a little exercise in working through the emotions that poetry stirs up and I find that writing it all out has provided a release for the original disagreement/anger-reaction I first had many moments ago...
I knew this would be an exercise as I began reviewing the Day 723 post - and whether this looks strange to most or not, I hope this writing shows the power of poetry. In the end, right about now... by having addressed the issue I had with the content (even just one line) this process has had a cathartic effect on me (Aristotle said this catharsis brought about via the arts is of tantamount importance to human beings, relationships, community, etc) and I am accepting of even the problematic line as I near the close of this post.
Originally, in my anger, I wished to bolt from the computer - come back and finish posting later. I felt this would not have been an honest action, nor helpful (conflict is difficult for me to deal with, particularly cerebral dissonance... I couldn't sit with liking Blake but, originally, hating one line of text that came from Blake) in my daily routine today - So I resolved to work through this problem.
As you might have guessed - the problem was never a "wrong" in the poetry - it was within my triggers, belief system, within myself - but the presence of poetry can be cathartic, mind-opening (my anger closed my mind and shut down critical thinking at the start of this post)...and extremely valuable and therapeutic for people - IF - they run through the entire process of running through the arguments on why they feel the way they do instead of bolting (like I felt like doing, initially).
The Day 723 post has been a cool exercise in humility, brought to you by the funny monkey above and is associated with The 800 Day blog and the date of Tuesday December 28 2010.