Speaking True

"Three million years

The Spirit, ranging as it will,

In sun, in darkness, lives in change.

Changed and not changed.

The spirit hears

In drifting fern the morning air."

—Janet Lewis, "Fossil, 1975"

What is it that poetry does and is? We can say that poetry is about why people do things, and about what we know, and don't know, of human motive. We can also say that poetry is in language, sounded, and that poems should say what they mean and be the right and exact locution for what is said, that the sound should echo and be echoed by and be of the meaning. An ideal? Yes, in good poetry approached, sometimes nearly. Poetry is a way of speaking true, and the truth is of sound and vision, the rhetoric fitting the truth a poem conveys and is.

What do we know of human motive? There is a tale I retell in a poem of mine entitled Dog Days for Great Cranberry Island:

And on the south end of the island still mist, then fog.


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