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— Gilles Fabien Dogbo, a Mesostomatic experiment on « Eating Poetry » by Mark Strand

On the inspiration

Have you ever wondered where poetry comes from? Who was the first poet ever? What does poetry mean for poets? Why do some people love poetry for poetry sake? Maybe these questions are beyond my mind and yours! Even so, they deserve to be asked. What are the merits of poets when poems seem to mean more than they could ever imagine. Is poetry not made of poetry by poetry for poetry? Therefore, why not write a poem about poetry itself? Here comes the idea for the genesis of the above-mentioned poem.

On the title of the poem

THE HOLY TRILOGY OF POETRY is an audacious title containing a biblical reference. When reading that title, one immediately expects to grasp three dimensions of a holy being: poetry! This is a great way of personifying poetry: it resembles a god with three faces adored and revered throughout all ages by poets from every race and of every language. Get this right: Poetry is holy! Poetry is sacred. It is a matter of life and death… Such a title undoubtedly emphasizes the importance poetry has for writers and readers.

On the visual shape of the poem

This text is made up of three (3) stanzas containing six (6) words each. The arrangement of words makes us think of the waves of the sea with ups and downs. This disposition is not the result of mere luck or chance. Here, form implies great meaning! Indeed, the ebbs and flows of sentences having the word « poetry » as backbone suggest that poetry is just like the sea for both readers and writers. With its ups, it can give you the best feeling ever taking you higher in the deepest realms of imagination. With its downs, it can be hard to digest especially when one’s heart is surrounded with the evils of life… Poetry, just like the waters of the sea which are a force of nature is ambiguous in its nature. It is neither good nor bad. The sea can transport you from one continent to the other. Poetry can move you from sadness to joy. The sea can destruct a boat with its storms. Poetry can destroy a poet with an overflow of negative emotions. So? The visual shape of the poem is a metapoetic reference to the complexity of poetry as an art!

On the first stanza

We quickly read: « Poetry from the mouth. Librarian eyes »! Well, this is an imagist description of the poet, of any poet. Two words are particularly important here — « mouth » and « eyes ». First things first, this first stanza deals with the origins of poetry. Sure, it comes « from the mouth », it is spoken and meant to be spoken just like the troubadours did in the 13th century in France. The origin of « poetry » is to be found in « the mouth » of the poet and it ultimately ends up in « the mouth » of the reader. Poetry is linked to an organ first: « the mouth ». Taste is therefore important while writing poetry because good poetry always tastes good… and that’s the secret: poetry is all about taste for the soul!

Then come the « eyes » implying that the poem can now be written and read. But, the writer goes very far by precising with an adjective how the poet’s eyes are: « Librarian eyes »! This means that being a poet requires loving books and spending countless hours reading books and others’ poems. Consequently, the eyes of the poet are as exercised and wise as « librarian eyes »! They quickly and accurately judge what is good and bad poetry. Moreover, these eyes produce books. They were created to evolve in a library, being a physical or virtual one.

On the second stanza

We quickly read: « Poems gone. The light are eyeballs » and we understand that « poems gone » is a double figure of speech, a personification coupled with a euphemism. Indeed, « Poems gone » means that poems are human beings that can be with us and leave us for a while or forever. « Poems gone » also means that poems have a lifetime and they can die, be forgotten, be lost forever. When poems are no more, what remains is « the light », the enlightenment and enlightening. When poems are no more, « the light » which is singular becomes a plural for various aspects of lights. The article « the » specifies that light is manifold, a trilogy that becomes « eyeballs », a tool and organ to look at things. Light no longer enables us to see things by casting out darkness, light becomes our eyes through the darkness and dark times of life. Beautiful metaphor!

On the third stanza

We quickly read: « Poor to her not her joy »! This statement is an ironic one. The poet is saddened by and mocks the situation of a person who does not love poetry. To be true, « poor to her », poetry is « not her joy ». The word « joy » takes the broader sense of passion in this context. It is hard for the poet to imagine the life of someone who cannot enjoy poetry. If « poetry » has become the equivalent for « joy », then one can truthfully affirm that a life without poetry is a life without joy…

The bottom-line

With the first stanza, we have seen that « poetry » is closely linked to two (2) sense organs: the mouth and the eyes. Poetry lies in the eyes of the beholder and comes from the mouth of the poet… Poetry is therefore taste and sight…

With the second stanza, we have seen that poetry is alive and it is the light and eyeballs of the body…

With the third stanza, we have seen that poetry is synonymous of joy, gladness, happiness, fulfilment and passion… and the spices that make a life tasty and worthy of love at first sight!

These three little but powerful definitions of poetry are the three faces of poetry. These are what make up its holy trilogy and help us understand why this art (poetry) exists by itself, and is always more than just a poet’s message, — it is the democracy of all arts…

Gilles Fabien Dogbo


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