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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Poem for John Cage

This is a poem
I wrote today dedicated
To John Cage
The first verse
Is the most explicit
Even though the second
Leaves everything and
Nothing unsaid
It's far less wordy
Yet still it extends
For as long as you wish
Stilled but attuned
To the life we're living
And then some besides

* * * * * * * *

I've been thinking about John Cage recently.  This poem is the result of my finally figuring out how silence can be enfolded into a poem much as Cage accomplished in his groundbreaking work. Silence can be folded in a manner similar to space and time or to a pair of trousers for that matter. Incorporating silence into a poem in this way is an order of magnitude different from simply including an extended pause in a poem - a technique often used for emphasis or ironic effect.  Silence becomes something much more than the space between words.  It becomes an expression of something in and of itself.

But now, just as I have learned this invaluable lesson, silence has turned the tables on me.  Or to paraphrase the great line from Shakespeare, I played with silence and now silence doth play with me.  It turns out that this poem for John Cage will serve very nicely as the last poem of the Lampoetry collection.  Silence (at least for now) has overtaken my poetic voice, which will be stilled subject to further notice.

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