here first. until we are there.

no, really

who contemplates the path one takes? unless you’re a teacher or at the proverbial cliff about to jump off.

do you really regularly ask, “how did i get here?”

i’ve been struggling to understand how it is that i should be teaching poetry. this is linked to my difficulty with making tests, because i’m so used to looking for what something means that i can’t seem to pinpoint how i get to that answer.

this is why i wish literature was more like a geometrical proof. though you are defending an answer per se with math, the process of how you get from one line to the next is transparent. reading all these books about poetry (Best Words, Best Order and How To Read Poetry and Fall In Love with It) keep pointing to how poetry — the metaphor in fact, is almost pre-lingual. somehow you get that (cliche alert) love is a like a red red rose. if you’re unsure about love, at least you know what a rose is and what red is. and somehow in the vapors of significance and meaning, you get it. aaaah love.

so how do you teach that (borrowed from kael) chasm of meaning? it makes me think of that scene from the last crusade, the one with the faith walk? there is obviously a path there, but i can’t seem to be able to articulate it well enough to be able to draw my students in.

though i must admit that they, somehow, are more confident to tell me what the poem is about. i almost feel like the blind leading the blind, and i’m not even the one-eyed queen. (oh my gawd lang all these cliches!) it’d be great to just reduce this to faith and love as i do most things when i explain it to myself, but really, when you are tasked to teach —- faith and love are just words. i want something living and breathing.

looks like i really will serve myself on a silver platter. nah, eto na naman ako eh.

the only thing i can think of is to trust in the power of those words on the paper. like trusting in the strength of your tissue paper, except you don’t want major absorption —- you want its converse.

and in that department, i find comfort in the fact that the people i’ve been reading may not agree completely with one another. but at least they use the same images to describe what it is they’re trying to say.

A wound gives off its own light
surgeons say,
If all the lamps in the house were turned out
you could dress this wound
by what shines from it.

Look how the word

from anne carson and for some reason, my mind connects it to something i read in dobyns and in hirsch. how words shine. milosz’ luminous things?

and the strange (okay, not really) fact that i’ve seen the word numinous twice, in essays both about memory. of course how that word is so close to luminous.

it just hit me. teaching poetry is like teaching about empty space.


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