ravenous reader Posted December 11, 2016 Share Posted December 11, 2016 Hi everyone! As some of you may have noticed, I like poetry and will sometimes quote a poem in the middle of a post -- which might seem bizarre to you at times. Nevertheless, "Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle. Who knows?" (AGOT-Jon II); so it's neither unusual nor outlandish for some of GRRM's themes to have been reflected in other literary works, including poems. Moreover, GRRM is an extremely well-read and allusive author, who enjoys giving a reverent, sometimes cheeky nod to other authors who have shaped his vision, borrowing from them in spirit, and sometimes even going so far as quoting snippets from them verbatim, so it's fun to pick up on those literary references. I invite you to join me in sharing poems (or other quotes from the literary canon and/or popular culture, e.g. quoting lyrics from songs, etc.-- the original meaning of 'song' was 'poem') that remind you of ASOIAF for some reason, whatever reason -- your creativity is welcome, so don't worry about 'derailing' this thread! This is one thread I predict can not be derailed, since as I said, 'many roads lead to the same castle,' so I predict we'll be circling back on ourselves arriving back where we started, many times over, circling in on the elusive heart of the castle. You may quote your poem without leaving an explanation; or if you prefer you may leave a brief (or lengthy...) accompanying comment, explaining the rationale behind why you associate that particular excerpt with ASOIAF, which I'd always be most interested in reading. As I mentioned above, the original meaning of 'song' is poetry, since bearing historical witness in the oral tradition (before written records were widely available) was easier for the bard to remember in rhyme. First and foremost, 'The Song of Ice and Fire' is a 'song' -- a kind of poetic utterance -- and importantly though GRRM is the one 'singing' it, it's not a piece for one. It's not a solo; it's a dialogue for many voices. This may surprise you, but it's dawned on me that the most important word in the title is neither 'song' nor 'ice' nor 'fire,' as is commonly presumed -- it's 'AND.' This is something we can only do together. Paradoxically, even when we're out of tune, off-time, brazenly dissonant, or singing our own song, we're part of and -- for better or for worse -- can never exit this song, not even when we die. The etymology of 'poetry' also reveals something interesting about our enterprise in this respect: Quote Poiesis. Poïesis (Ancient Greek: ποίησις) is etymologically derived from the ancient Greek term ποιέω, which means "to make". This word, the root of our modern "poetry", was first a verb, an action that transforms and continues the world. Poetry is not merely an artifact; it's the way we tell our stories -- and thereby make ourselves and our world. Have fun. Remain good-humored and open-minded to each other's contributions. And remember -- we all proceed from one another's thoughts as well as preceding others to come --so in the end no one really has exclusive ownership of any given thought, and that should give us pause to always be respectful of one another, which is a way of paying respect to ourselves and the long tradition out of which we emerge and has brought us here where we find ourselves now. So, without further ado, the poem I'd like to introduce to you today: It's simply called 'POWER.' Quote Power Living in the earth-deposits of our history Today a backhoe divulged out of a crumbling flank of earth one bottle amber perfect a hundred-year-old cure for fever or melancholy a tonic for living on this earth in the winters of this climate. Today I was reading about Marie Curie: she must have known she suffered from radiation sicknessher body bombarded for years by the element she had purified It seems she denied to the end the source of the cataracts on her eyes the cracked and suppurating skin of her finger-ends till she could no longer hold a test-tube or a pencil She died a famous woman denying her wounds denyingher wounds came from the same source as her power. ” ― Adrienne Rich, The Dream of a Common Language This reminds me of GRRM's unflinching acceptance and courageous engagement with the fundamental duality of life. It's not about 'good' vs. 'evil' per se, because the materials we're using are neither good nor evil, but derive from a common source. Rather, it's our intentions which are good or evil -- and tragically, even with the best intentions, there's always a residual by-product or side-effect, if you like, to everything we do. In other words, a kernel of 'good' emerging within the 'evil'; and reciprocally a seed of 'evil' growing out of the 'good.' Also, since we're embedded in history, 'good' and 'evil' effects ripple out over time with trans-generational consequences, which have to to be borne by those who inherit this karmic legacy. It's like having to catch a boomerang you can't refuse! Yet, you may choose in which direction you'd like to throw it next. I dedicate this poem to @Pain killer Jane whose thoughts surrounding these ideas, on 'sacrificing oneself for power' and others, have echoed and informed my own in many a stimulating back-and-forth brainstorming session, and who first encouraged me to pursue a thread such as this. Thanks PK Jane -- even when I don't at first 'get' your special brand of poetry, your pearls of wisdom silently gleam and slowly reveal themselves with time. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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