The Way Over the Rough Ground

Impressed by the possibility of a comparison,
fibre on fibre twisting our net of reality,
a multitude of familiar paths lead off in every direction.

Entangled in rules, seduced into using a super-expression,
we’re an engine idling within language, ancient city,
impressed by the possibilities of comparisons.

Tracing the frame round and round, how high the seas run!
Language seemed to repeat inexorably.
A multitude of familiar paths lead off in every direction.

Where our language suggests a body and there is none,
the axis must be rotated about the fixed point of need.
Impressed by the possibilities of comparisons,

we predicate of the thing what lies in its method of representation.
There is no outside; outside you cannot breathe.
A multitude of familiar paths lead off in every direction.

We’ve come to the end of explanations.
None drawn, we do not know boundaries.
Impressed by the possibilities of comparison,
a multitude of familiar paths lead off in every direction.


Note:
I threatened to write this villanelle last year. Since I’m writing a poem every day this year I saw no reason to put it off any longer. All of the phrases (some with slight modification) are from G. E. M. Anscombe’s English translation of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical InvestigationsIf you enjoyed this, you might want to read my Wittgenstein cento, Use Is Life

Advertisements
This entry was posted in poem and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Way Over the Rough Ground

  1. hedgewitch says:

    I was about to start expounding on how cool some of these phrases are (esp. seduced into using a super-expression, which really got me) but I am guessing since they are derived, it’s the arrangement and thrust to which I should be directing my attention. First, a flawless villanelle, where the form is almost invisible, yet leaves its bone-shaking echoes.Next the choice of phrases which repeat the word ‘language’ serve very much as a mirror, or even microscope of that thing, isolating it as an abstract as well as innate part of us. I especially like the fourth stanza (leading into the fifth) for its succinct and piercing aptness.

  2. Susan Scheid says:

    I’m just putting my feeble pen down and gaping at this in awe.

  3. angela says:

    These stanzas have such a lulling quality to them that it is hard to want to break things down to read the bigger picture…so, I shall not and just say that his words with your art form echo how I feel everytime the screen in front of my comes alive and I dare explore the unknown web of words ~

  4. Brendan says:

    This could read like code for human software. The neural pathways here are tightly woven with known possibilities — thus the repetition, the iteration — yet the writing of it is way through, the “rough ground” its wonderful possibility. Language is the drum.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s