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This Is Poetry. . .

2009 April 3
by J. Scott Mosel

“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

     Albert Einstein, What I Believe, 1930


. . . and this question from Nick (four years old): Where do the colors go at night? Suddenly, everything you thought you believed begins to unravel. You find yourself, after a long journey, finally standing in the center of where you have always been: inside a poem, finally alive, no longer seeking, but finding. Language will take you where you want to go if you simply listen. Hollis Summers, professor and writer from Athens, Ohio, once said, “A poem is everything I know about being alive.” Alive, the writer must learn to live in a room full of darkness searching for colors that only come when spring arrives. Alive, the writer must ask the questions that language itself may not be capable of answering. Alive, the writer becomes a conduit for answers to questions that may never have been asked in the first place.

1162482_takemotos_nebulaIs there really a place where the colors go at night? Is God hungry? Are you strong enough to kill that monster? I have been listening to these questions, and I do not have all the answers. I tell him the colors are tired after a long day of delighting our eyes. He wants to know about delight. I tell him de light is good. He wants to know what we should give God to eat. I tell him milk is a great place to start, because it is white, the color of God, and they make it all the time, even in our sleep. He wants to know about killing monsters. I tell him the biggest, scariest monsters fall hard when you use language they do not recognize. I tell him this is how we dream in color. I tell him this is what I know about being alive. I tell him this is poetry. . .

One Response leave one →
  1. Peg Mosel permalink
    October 29, 2009

    Scott, For some reason i missed this one, or just “re-found” it. I feel it is one of the most beautiful poems you have written. It is deep and very meaningful. I love the way you weave Albert Einstein and your own family in your writings. It is truly lovely.

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