Monday, March 30, 2015


ESO/T. Preibisch

We have been on earth for thousands of years.

Wandering and wondering, roaming and  researching, exploring and examining our world.
Seeking to understand, to number, to order, to name-- all that is...

Ever attempting to answer the perennial questions:
What is real?  What is true?
How did it all begin and how does it all work?
Who are we?
And why are we here?

What if the answers are more complex than we ever imagined, yet far simpler than we have guessed?

What if it's all poetry?

I recently discovered several amazing books that seem to suggest just such an answer.

In CosmoLyrical: what if it's all poetry?Phievalon (stage name of spoken-word artist Phil Long) offers answers from across the cosmos, pointing us to language  and ideas and poetry as the question and the answer.   And the source of it all-- A Poet!

In an excerpt from What if it's all poetry?  He offers the following:
What if matter is actually made up of what really matters?..... what if atoms were iambs.... and rocks  are merely metaphors?....
And in another excerpt he asserts:

That we are absurd,
we spoken words,
language in dust,
poetry in protein,
amino acid adventures,
prose, still waiting for answers.
This IS my reason to believe; a fairy-tale God-poet
writing souls into eternity
with dust...
Click  to listen to What if it's all poetry? or  watch a live performance at the Java Monkey in Decatur, Georgia.

Likewise,  we are invited to continue our ponderings and wonderings about the cosmos, our existence, and the whys of it all in The Universe Verse by James Lu Dunbar.

His book serves up a double dish of delight--- poetry and comics converge to explain the origins of the universe, our own earth, and life, including human beings  He spans all time and theories, from the Big Bang to the invention and benefits of writing.  In between he considers energy, space, time, matter, DNA, and much more.

He ends with an invitation to continue to question what we know and what is known;

While science is new
and still in it's youth,
already it's shown us
such beautiful truth,
all it needs is a question
and some willing sleuth.
Do you like to wonder?
Do you like to ask?
You might be just who
we need for this task....
The universe is a chain
 and you're one lucky link,
 so be grateful and kind,
 and do try to think!

Science in rhymes and frames.
Theories in verse and panels.

In order to appreciate this book, you must see the text integrated with the images--- They cannot be separated.  Click here to see images, as well as a brief  video allowing you to peek inside the book.

Poets have always contemplated, metaphorized, and versified the universe, their world, and their place in both.  They have pondered in galactic generalities, as well as personalized specificities.  We have volumes of poetry which support the notion that it's all poetry.

 In Verse & Universe: Poems about Science and Mathematics, editor Kurt Brown has gathered  quintessential representations of such poetry by poets we know and love, including Charles Simic, Howard Nemerov, Albert Goldbarth, Jorie Graham, John Updike, William Stafford, Rita Dove, Billy Collins, and more.

This collection of verses tackles all that exists.  The selections include topics such as the universe, space, time, matter, heavenly bodies, earth, animals, and humans, as well as theory and speculation, and numbers.

Science and math translated into poetic wisdom, reflections, and questions.
Theory and research in stanzas.

One of the epigraphs chosen by Brown, a quote by Edward Abbey from The Journey Home, says it all:
Any good poet, in our age at least, must begin with the scientific view of the world; and any scientist worth listening to must be something of a poet, must possess the ability to communicate to the rest of us his sense of love and wonder at what his work discovers.

Abbey seems to agree--- it's all poetry.

I remember my  amazement at Carl Sagan's Cosmos.  These poetic texts on the same subjects make perfect companions to Sagan's now classic scientific work.

And not only is it all poetry on the cosmic scale; it is all poetry in our personal lives, as we consider where we fit in the larger plan, place, and purpose.

In the Bible, Ephesians 2:10 asserts that we are God's workmanship,  his masterpiece, his opus, his handiwork------  the Greek word here is poiema.  
Yes....we are God's poems.
It is all poetry.

In poetry, we can  seek, name, number, and order our lives in the context of the cosmos. We can observe, reflect, and question who we are individually, as well as cosmically.

In Secrets to the Universe, Wit Woliczko has recorded, in haiku and senryu, personal observations and theories of his own life in the universe.  Here are two samples:

How does one slow time?
Listen to every second....
for Infinity.

I anticipate
to look at the world anew
with every poem

And young writer, eleven -year old Savion Harris writes poetry to explore his narrow, homeless universe. His poem Questions is included in  2014 Rattle Young Poets Anthology.

Who am I?
Where do I belong?
Do I have a home?...
I'm not even sure if
I exist.

And finally, as we consider our lives in our world, lived in relationship to all that exists, there is nothing that we think, feel, say, do or encounter, that is not poetry, that cannot become a poem.

So in closing I offer Everything is a Poem: The Best of J. Patrick Lewis.  In this collection,we find people, animals, places, riddles and reading, nature and nonsense---- all become poems.

What if it's all poetry?

Today's Deeper Writing Possibilities

Consider those perennial questions:

What is real?  What is true?
How did it all begin and how does it all work?
Who are we?
And why are we here?

Write a meditation exploring these questions.

Consider the notion that it is all poetry.  Write an essay, personal narrative, or poem entitled What if it's all poetry?

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