Guest poem sent in by Zeynep Dilli
(Poem #1934) Against Entropy
The worm drives helically through the wood And does not know the dust left in the bore Once made the table integral and good; And suddenly the crystal hits the floor. Electrons find their paths in subtle ways, A massless eddy in a trail of smoke; The names of lovers, light of other days Perhaps you will not miss them. That's the joke. The universe winds down. That's how it's made. But memory is everything to lose; Although some of the colors have to fade, Do not believe you'll get the chance to choose. Regret, by definition, comes too late; Say what you mean. Bear witness. Iterate.
As sad it is to become aware of the main mass of the body of someone's work after his death, that pattern is repeated again and again, and here's another such case. John Mike Ford, whom I knew mostly through his comments on the weblog _Making Light_ and two other of his poems, "Troy: The Movie" and "110 Stories", passed away last night---the morning of September 25th. Those who had read more of him made the rest of us realize what we missed. Much more can be found starting at this weblog entry: http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/008033.html As for this particular poem, two things first caught my eye: The English-sonnet rhyming scheme, and the last line taken together with the title. "Against Entropy: Say what you mean. Bear witness. Iterate." In the era when mass-scale language manipulation is an art form (even in the way Orwell had foreseen), that reduction of Ford's call has its own urgency. But the poem's point doesn't need to be taken at the level of politics to be taken seriously; it's something one needs to remember in day-to-day life. We'll forget things, and not only things we want to forget. Things will change. I can't say it better than the third quartuplet of the sonnet, so I won't try; but for things we really, truly care about and we really, truly would like to keep in heart or mind or in physical reality, we should be insistent about keeping it---write, tell, note, make it clear. On a very personal level, maybe the best argument for keeping a journal that I've seen. The language of the poem is driving, and on a meta-level, demonstrates its own point as clearly and starkly as possible. As the lines progress, there's a shift from even the simplest of metaphors and illustrative examples to outright "Say[ing] what [it] mean[s]." On that note, I've babbled on too much already. -- Zeynep Dilli [Links] Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_M._Ford