“Language is the hallmark of humanity—it allows us to form deep relationships and complex societies. But we also use it when we’re all alone; it shapes even our silent relationships with ourselves. In his book, The Voices Within, Charles Fernyhough gives a historical overview of “inner speech”—the more scientific term for “talking to yourself in your head.”
The author says besides talking to others we talk to ourselves a kind of inner language that has no words or words fewer than words of our language but that which runs faster .
Just now what is taking place within me as I am thinking and writing about it? I think I was meandering and now I reach a point very different to what the normal language may have taken me to. But at the end if it, I land up in a poem about a leader who is speaking her inner language from below the earth where death had reached her yesterday evening. In the normal language there is no sense to what I say I was doing.
In my poem it makes sense, if I think all this through the inner language in me that runs faster than a language. So I am in a mess. But poetry is about being in mess, in the inner language that takes long leaps across spaces between words .
Beginning my studies the first step pleas’d me so much,
The mere fact of consciousness, these forms, the power of
The least insect or animal, the senses, eyesight, love,
The first step I say awed me and pleas’d me so much,
I have hardly gone and hardly wish’d to go any farther,
But stop and loiter all the time to sing it in ecstatic songs.
[From Leaves of Grass]
To a poet the beginning to explore nature is the beginning of studies- as you begin you have to understand the alphabet of the fascinating world of nature, the nature of things and the layers of consciousness in which your own self lies buried. You have to look at yourself as part of this world of forms, the power of motion, the light in things, the way light falls on things and makes them out against the things of the world. In the process of taking it all in , a song bursts forth, a song of joy, a song of celebration much before you start experiencing the world in its fullness.
The music pre-empts exploration and the poetry robs you of the experience of going further towards the fuller and richer joys that lay ahead in this fascinating world. A wondrous adventure is lost in the setting of the song to its tune, to a mad pursuit of a rhythm. A poetry recollected in tranquillity is lost to a song that flows prematurely as we enter the world of “the least insect, the animal, the senses, eyesight, love” at the very first step.
Life is a sonnet : an illustrated passage from A wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’engle
Madam says life is a sonnet and we are doomed within its strict structure. But we have the freedom to say whatever we can within its stifling form. So please keep your Iambs ready, neatly cut and if the syllables spill use an inverted coma. But fit the syllables within the allotted emphasis.
Remember you have just fourteen lines. Not all of them are of uniform size because some syllables are more equal than others. Cut out your love for uniform size. Let them spill if that cannot be helped and use your punctuation with a little license.
You do not have much to say by the twelfth line and you are already in the epigrammatic mode? Well yes that is how it happens in life as in sonnet. If nothing else you use the epigram for the headstone.
“Poetry, like all art, has a trinitarian function: creative, redemptive, and sanctifying,” Vassar Miller asserted. “It is creative because it takes the raw materials of fact and feeling and makes them into that which is neither fact nor feeling. Redemptive because it transforms pain, ugliness of life into joy, beauty. Sanctifying because it gives the transitory a relative form of meaning.”
Brain Pickings 22/11/2016
How true! Of the three functions cited here, I think the first one is closest to my own idea of what poetry does. Poetry transforms a drab fact or a plain detail into a beautiful keepsake. As we go along in our lives, we keep collecting them as our own private little trophies to inspect and admire at leisure. The second one is also relevant to our experience. Poetry transforms the ugly facts of our life into enduring tokens of beauty. It takes away the pain from a memory, translates it into a bearable experience .The third one is relatively less significant but has some usefulness .Being conscious of the transitory nature of all experiences takes away their meaning . Poetry ,in the way it universalizes them,invests them with meaning and permanence.
When you wake up in the morning you reiterate your existence saying aloud “Alive and kicking!” .In the morning walk you are blinded by the brilliant morning sun in the tall grass waving in the breeze .You say “alive and blinking”. The grass re-asserts your existence as the sun continues to shine warmly on your skin. In the distance the hillocks sit pretty against the blue sky waiting for the golden sunshine to cover their flanks.
Instead of the long time frame one sets for oneself in younger days, the time horizon is now just one day –between today’s dawn and tomorrow’s, now, so uncomfortably close.
You want to be alive and blinking- at the far horizon where the hillocks sit pretty waiting for the sun’s golden rays to cover their flanks.
The human mind has this constant need to conform because it is otherwise free beyond any limitations that define structures governing human activity.There is this need to be like everybody .The moment we are free we feel lost and disoriented in the vast wild wastes of logical possibility. Hence the defining structures.We always try to devise newer structures because we are afraid of being sucked into the uncertainty of the infinity,the kind of borderless existence that fills us with fear.Human existence is a matter of so much enclosed space with a dream which refuses to acknowledge contours. Art is a uniquely human endeavor to break down structures ,to demolish contours and become part of space which is not defined by any outlines. The only way such a thing is possible when the body disappears . Art is a death-like experience when the individual attempts to burst out of enclosed spaces.
Dance is an effort to extend human existence into the infinity of space.When the dancer throws her limbs in space in her dance movements she extends the frontiers of her own enclosed space. The abstract artist demolishes the outlines of physical objects and abolishes form and structure in order to experience freedom. That is the only way one invents freedom,the freedom which is hiding behind form and symmetry.When we dream on the side of our pillow we experience scary freedom ,when we disappear in the vastness of space . We have invented our God , a finite God with arms akimbo ,enclosed in the claustrophobic space of a human-like form because we are scared of an infinite God who is not enclosed in finite space.
Does beauty in nature conform to the known and accepted aesthetic principles of color,balance,texture,symmetry,harmony etc.?
Actually we do not see such principles in application in nature. For instance does a painter paint bright green foliage against deep translucent sky as we often see in the summer sky, without playing down the blue of the sky? Yet this is what we see and enjoy in nature. The combination of colors in nature is dynamic and relative to the time and space of the moment.A painter cannot achieve the same beauty if he does not employ the commonly accepted aesthetic principles of color combination,color texture,contrived color effects, creating an ideal artistic space which can be appreciated by the human mind.
The “combo” effect of several elements present in the beauty of nature cannot be reduced to the enunciation of a few principles as in art.The beauties of nature are something we all enjoy without the need to break them down to a few principles of critical appreciation.
The beauty of nature goes much beyond the aesthetics of human appreciation .There is something about nature which appeals to you even when there is no conformance to the known and accepted principles of aesthetics. Take for example the texture and shapes of the straggling boulders of our Hyderabad rock-scape which are pleasing to the eye despite the randomness of their arrangement.A sculptor would impose some formalism on their existence ,position under the sky,sharing of space with foliage,their own textures and colors related to the sky of the moment etc. You will not find in them a symmetry such as we attempt in art .For example an artist will not paint just a single rock under the sky but juxtapose it with another flatter rock ,a road or passage and fill the canvas with two or three palm trees.That is how symmetry is sought to be achieved .In nature we find randomness which is the opposite of harmony and the absence of deliberate positioning of objects.