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"Everything counts a little more than we think..."

28 January 2004 Wednesday

asking why

slated in mused at 7:39 pm

i don’t remember quite when this was.. two, three or so years ago? but when i first read this poem, i was told that it implicitly had meaning for specifically/particularly me. i don’t know if i was in mind while it was written, but since the author said directly to me that it held meaning directly for me, i’m not going to feel too out of line ‘analyzing’ this out a bit…

brief on the poem.. written by junior-year highschool friend, currently at school in Lawrence University. i hesitate to write out his name here for privacy issues, until maybe one day he reads this and decides he’s fine with his name being written out on here (—even if it’s already elsewhere on the web). (or he tells me he objects to having any reference to him whatsoever and i have to take down his poem and state my post here so much more ambiguously.)

it was composed as magnetic poetry.. and initially he put up two ‘pages’ of it.. but i really felt that the second page detracted from any power that the first page had, so suggested he cut out the first page as one complete poem. he did take down the second page.

the poem follows here:

magnetic poetry #20

if this morning you awoke
to a brilliant eternity of beauty

would you worship it

if you watched the rain fall in
a forest on a warm summer night

would you dance in it

if you were presented with a
universe dazzling of diamond beauty

would you embrace it

or would you be the one to ask why”

i really liked this poem when i first read it. to be accurate, though, i… i don’t often identify with or really appreciate a lot of his poetry in general—that’s not to say it isn’t good; it just doesn’t usually keep my attention. there are a few that he has written, however, that do. and that kind of makes them stand out more, i think. i’m not explaining very coherently…

a bit more honesty: when i told him i liked the poem, and he told me i should particularly take it to heart, as it directly spoke to me, i was a bit offended. more by the presumption than anything else. but he says stuff like that to me a lot, and i’m very aware of this particular presumption he makes about me. i know that in general, he doesn’t believe i truly understand or appreciate art. saying that, though, is kind of like questioning whether or not i believe in God. what i do believe, is that: whether i believe or not; whether or not i believe in the glory of art (—what a hugely broad and monstrously subjecting term, btw) is okay. that neither to believe or not to not believe are condemnable states of being. that’s what i believe.

and my comparison between art and God here is not entirely of my own whimsical concoction; i believe he’s used the similie himself, if not spoken with this specific theme.

but you know what, this is my journal and my thoughts on the matter, and my indignant response on him linking me to this poem was two-fold: who are you (of anyone, let alone someone who knows me as wholly as possible), to presume to know or understand how i view the world/miracles/beauty/art/nature/God. ? for that matter, to presume over anyone on the matter of appreciation for life and majesty. i did also pause a bit to consider—since that was what he did ask me to do in the first place—to consider that he was right to presume my view of ‘art’. (in case it’s not apparent, this is an issue that has played well before this poem was ever conceived and received.

and here’s the other thing: i didn’t ‘ask why’ when i first read this poem. i didn’t even think about it that much. i decided it was good and i lost the bookmark of the site it was on, or something, and only remembered the moment it was shared with me, and not much at all about the poem.

until now. now i’ve gotten (what a funny word, ‘gotten’) to read it again. now i have an entirely new question, that i may or may not have briefly considered years ago, but i am feeling very strongly about right now:

what about the beauty in asking ‘why’?

now if this poem had been written by a stranger, and i was now rereading it and realized this other potential dimension in it, i would then imagine that perhaps the author might have had that in mind the whole time, and it was i who had misinterpreted it before. but that isn’t the case. this poem says ‘there is so much beauty. can you recognize it? can you appreciate it?’ and that’s just fine… but word choice, whether magnetic poetry or not, is paramount in poetry. and the word choice in this poem is “or would you...ask why”. which makes ‘asking why’ the opposite to all the forementioned in the poem, and since the forementioned is the positive, and was furthermore what was advised to me to recognize as lacking in myself, ... that makes the act of ‘asking why’ a negative one.

maybe this stood out to me because last night i dwealt again on the concept of ‘timshel’.. a choice to this or that.. to believe or not believe.. to act or not act… to love or not love.. (and it’s not all binary / black and white) ...to be awed by beauty, or to ask why… and hey, that’s the other thing. ‘or would you be the one to’ implies that you would do the one instead of the other. why not ‘or would you be the one to also ask why’. but that implies joining a multitude of askers. lemme think a bit…       okay. i think it would have to be something like ‘and might you ask why’.

i’m getting a bit tired. i’m gonna say i have two fundamental points, out of all of this:

one: why can’t you worship it and dance in it and embrace it and ask why ?

and two: the act of asking why is, to me, a potentially incredible and awesome thing. in many ways.. well, no, even more simply. again, this is my view of the world ~ if asking why is the privelege of choice, and choice is a promise of timshel, then that, that—the question, the promise, the choice—that is the most beautiful thing.. . .. .

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