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Author's Notes: "Poetic Encryption Like Ancient Egyptian" is a new narrative poem that I had completed on April 25, 2016. I took a "deep dive" when I put this one together to better understand how certain forms of "poetic encryption" are, at times, at the root of how each of us choose to write the poetry that we do. The storyline and intellectual backdrop of this particular poem touches on my thematic view of how poets, at times, employ forms of written encryption in their poetry based on certain methodologies that they may choose to follow. To amply illustrate my point here, I cite examples from T. S. Eliot, Sylvia Plath, Ezra Pound, and John Keats. Many famous poets from the past (as well as the present) revel in a type of a "self-tribal coding" that I refer to in my poetic narrative. The notion I'm getting at here is that many poets, at times, will embellish arcane and sometimes uncanny forms of symbolism and imagery to highlight the special message of their poem to the reader while making their rationalization and argument to be as persuasive as possible. And, I'm not implying that this is necessarily bad. This "self-tribal coding" aspect that I allude to in this poem, is something that I believe that all of us as interested poets and writers, at times, use as we write our verses and construct the stanzas and overall thematic flow in our poems. I truly believe that this is an indelible aspect of poetic expression which truly set us apart from the straight-forward, at times, boring narrative work of journalists and other writers. We are either "Poetic" in our respective thematic outlooks, or we're not! In effect, I truly feel that "Word Pictures," per se, carefully developed and articulated by poets can produce a type of symbolic imagery that can be somewhat analogous and likened to a form of ancient hieroglyphics, which, through their own depicted imagery, form a coherent meaning via "Word Pictures." My intent with this poem is to challenge how each of us actually think as we formulate and develop the various types of poems we choose to write and present to the reader. Pursuing the "difficult" and "unpredictable" in narrative expression, I believe, helps each of us to mature as poets in our further mastery of the fine art of poetic articulation and expression. This is something I believe is quite interesting to think about! Enjoy! (Gary Bateman - May 8, 2016) (Narrative)
Categories: allegory, analogy, emotions, imagination, metaphor, passion, and symbolism.
Poetic Encryption Like Ancient Egyptian
This terror and threat to poetic clarity,
Becomes a pet rock for some poets.
Words do count for sure, but so does
Clarity unless poets put a mask on.
Encryption can be used to mask
Certain vatic pretensions that poets
Harbor, at times, when waxing eloquently
About some trendy theme or some idea
Or notion deemed as avant-garde.
If hieroglyphics were to be readily used
In our now advanced world of modernity,
Would they be viewed as:
A rifacimento? A renaissance? A code?
It all could be plain nonsense too!
Or maybe not . . .
In T. S. Eliot’s, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,”
He enchants and captivates his readers to a rare and
Flavorful taste of vers libre, if one might be so bold,
That is selectively sparing, and yet, well-calibrated,
With intermittent sprinklings of superbly crafted
Visual imagery and eloquent tonal alliteration—
And varied meter, rhythm, and rhyme.
“Prufrock” is palpable with emotion and metaphor, yet—
Detached from a ready explanation of the delicious
Power of the words with which Eliot mesmerizes his
Readers with the devout cleverness of a Pied Piper.
One could see the eternal Footman
And hear his snicker—and be afraid;
One could roll one’s trousers;
One could dare to eat a peach;
One could walk upon the beach;
One could hear the mermaids sing;
But will the mermaids sing to him?
Only Eliot really truly knows . . .
The real Prufrockian mien here.
Are not such metaphors there . . .
To make us think?
To enchant our senses?
To play on our fears?
To be emotive?
And, yes . . .
To tantalize our passions?
And, yes . . .
To excite our psychic yearnings?
Yes . . . Contemplation is always vital!
Some poets speak in a self-tribal code.
Sometimes artful obfuscation is the real goal,
And sometimes—maybe not.
A cacophonic scramble of
Demonstrative and passionate
Words, thoughts, emotions.
All so pure and all so real,
And all in the poet’s mind!
All so exact and all so real!
Some, like the legendary Sylvia Plath,
Bring the reader to a forlorn world of
Lost faith, utter despair, and loneliness
In the midst of such a sad dream world.
Plath’s lyric poem — “Edge”
Summons readers to the brink;
Occurring one week before her
The power and symbolism
Resident in this, her final poem,
Point toward . . .
A perfection, A completion,
A tragic tribalism.
Plath’s symbology is both
Intense and compelling;
Forming its own sense of
Encryption while embellishing
A supernatural aura of immortality.
The redoubtable Ezra Pound in his
“Hugh Selwyn Mauberley,” and in
Many other of his complex poems,
Personifies a certain form of encryption
With his use of symbols and metaphors,
A mix of foreign languages, and a definite
Convulsion of syntax which makes for an
Intellectual “Rite of Passage” defying, at times,
A clear analysis and ready understanding.
Pound in “Mauberley,” writes on various
Levels begging much pre-knowledge from
Each reader while amply teasing us with:
His gnomic predilection for novel themes;
His thirst for the unexpected and unusual;
His formidable knowledge and language forte;
His array of uniquely woven word tapestries;
And his referential flair for striking aphorisms.
Pound does all of this so magnificently . . .
All the while forming imagery challenging
A reader’s sense of understanding:
Leaving a sense of syntactical encryption Writ Large!
Always challenging and never ever dull!
That is, if one’s cup of tea is reveling in the complex!
There is a profound literary sense to what some may say
Is Pound’s Janus-faced proclivity for genius and madness.
Pound will not disappoint you regardless of which bipolar
Face you ascribe to him.
Although, contrast and comparison are very important . . .
Yet, I proffer that deep thinking and sometimes actually
Being confused at times . . .
May result ultimately in a true epiphany,
Leading each of us to a spirit of greater understanding!
I end with John Keats, who has left all of us, as poets,
With his immeasurable sense of naturalistic Humanism.
Keats’ pursuit of metaphor, nuance, descriptive imagery,
And sagacious symbology reflect the highest degree of
Poetic mastery and a strong sense of perspicacity obvious
In all of his works!
Keats also uses a type of poetic encryption—
With his diction, imagery, thoughts, and verse syncopation;
He’s quite elegant with his varied and fluent thematic reveries.
They’re always a joy to decipher, whilst leaving us to bask in
Their powerful sense of clarity and persuasive meaning!
Many of Keats’ works reflect this form of encryption . . .
“La Belle Dame Sans Merci”
Particularly comes to mind in this instance,
As well as his famous “Ode” narratives;
And his superb Grecian epic fragment: “The Fall of Hyperion,”
Presents the reader with a veritable smorgasbord of contrasts
And imagery, and an imaginative view of the classical conflict
Between the Olympians and the Titans!
Divining the complex, chaotic, and unpredictable
In our world of arcane symbolism and imagery,
Reflect the modern world we live in today.
Poetic Encryption is indeed . . .
So like Ancient Egyptian!
Hieroglyphics, after all, form their own
Sense of imagery and word pictures . . .
Analogous to what we do today with the
Words, images, metaphors, emotions, and
Symbols in our poetry!
Poetic Encryption is so like Ancient Egyptian!
Amen! Amen! Amen!
Gary Bateman, Copyright © All Rights Reserved,
April 25, 2016 (Narrative)
Copyright © Gary Bateman | Year Posted 2016