A Decade's Birthday
In a few hours I turn 52. My Warholian fifteen minutes of fame happened quickly. I was the first baby of the new year in Aiken, South Carolina with a picture and feature in the paper. My father said I started costing him money from my first breath a little after midnight the first day of January 1958. Payback is a BITCH. I was born on my father's birthday :). In a few hours we lose a decade marked by our ability to take two steps back for every one forward. War, recession and acrimony seem to rule our NOW.
Poetry exists. Against odds, hubris and entropy's pull poets continue to write. Here is a magical Russian Haiku featured on PBSNewshour tonight:
If there is something to desire,
there will be something to regret.
If there is something to regret,
there will be something to recall.
If there is something to recall,
there was nothing to regret,
there, was nothing to desire.
Poet Vera Pavlova
Russian Haiku defines our mashup international times. This dying decade's not so hidden poetry is hearing Vera Pavlova's song. Her words sing across space and time directly into our hearts and minds. If this last decade was about building magical infrastructure the next will be a race to hearts and minds. As Steven Johnson suggests in his book Everything Bad Is Good For You both individual minds and collective wisdom improve.
We become smarter and faster not necessarily wiser and better. The hidden secret of Everything Bad is hidden optimism. If our trend is NOT mental entropy then the opposite is likely and Kurzweil's Singularity is Near seems within our grasp:
The Singularity is an era in which our intelligence will become increasingly nonbiological and trillions of times more powerful than it is today—the dawning of a new civilization that will enable us to transcend our biological limitations and amplify our creativity.The House Poetry Built
Poetry exists against all modern odds. I write from a home at least partially paid for by Magnetic Poetry Kit. The company (Found Objects) and marriage are gone, but I love poetry because of what it does to me not for me. I miss sitting in Vassar's Rose Parlor drinking tea and reading poetry. I miss e. e. cummings, Wallace Stevens and Emily Dickenson. Perhaps these artists, poetry and afternoon tea are not lost but transformed.
Poetry's New Physics
Physicists teach energy is never lost. Is there a straight line from Wallace Stevens to the Rose Parlor and some previously unknown friend reading this post? If there is a line of thoughtful mental energy then recovery and progress, well hidden at times, is our decade's poetry. Money, jobs and government may be stuck, but our lives are free-er than ever. Is this what U2 means when these Irish modern poets sing about "...the best of us are geniuses of compression" in their masterful No Line On The Horizon?
Is there a better expression of poetry's physics than Hiroshi Sugimoto's Borden Sea photo used eloquently on No Line on the Horizon's cover? Sugimoto's clear horizontal lines lead our lives into a new physics, a genius of compression, a magnetic poetry, a Russian Haiku.
Happy New Year and decade to my friends, family and previously unknown friends reading their first ScentTrail post learning of Martin Marty Smith and wondering who will be the first baby of this new year.
Kudos for PBSNewshour for keeping poetry alive in their Poetry Series.
Russian Poet Vera Pavlova's moving site.
Learn more about Martin Marty Smith than you ever wanted.
Follow ScentTrail's own Russian Haiku on Twitter.