21 October 2010

Imagination vs. Electronics? An Art of Poetry

Fertility, whether in gardening, artistry or writing, has several requirements; two of the needs for being productive are fallow times (for rest) and fertilizer. Now, I use nature walks to assist me with the latter, but found the fallow times were becoming increasingly harder to experience. Then I discovered that my love for gadgetry was getting in the way of productive rest.  I read several studies on the use of “wired” gadgets (computers, smartphones) and movie viewing which inconclusively showed not only a shorter attention span, but also a large drop in “artistic production.” In other words, subjects’ imaginations were stagnating.
What did I do and what was my experience? I quit using my laptop for any creative writing and used the more laborious pen and paper (good paper and my special pens, of course). Not only that, I also forswore social media for several days, and found that that made a significant difference. I think this may work for me.
End of news report. Here's today's reflection--yes, it relates to my little report (somewhat obliquely):

An Art of Poetry

Since all our keys are lost or broken,
Shall it be thought absurd
If for an art of words I turn
Discreetly to the Word?


Drawn inward by his love, we trace
Art to its secret springs:
What, are we masters in Israel
And do not know these things?


Lord Christ from out his treasury
Brings forth things new and old:
We have those treasures in earthen vessels,
In parables he told,


And in single images
Of see, and fish, and stone,
Or, shaped in deed and miracle,
To living poems grown.


Scorn then to darken and contract
The landscape of the heart
By individual, arbitrary
And self-expressive art.


Let your speech be ordered wholly
By an intellectual love;
Elucidate the carnal maze
With clear light from above.


Give every image space and air
To grow, or as a bird to fly;
So shall one grain of mustard-seed
Quite overspread the sky.


Let your literal figures shine
With pure transparency:
Not in opaque but limpid wells
Lie truth and mystery.


And universal meanings spring
From what the proud pass by:
Only the simplest forms can hold
A vast complexity.


We know, where Christ has set his hand
Only the real remains:
I am impatient for that loss
By which the spirit gains.
  • by James McAuley