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On Nothingness and Poems

Art Credits to shimoda7: http://shimoda7.deviantart.com/gallery/ to Yuumei http://yuumei.deviantart.com/ and TaniDaReal http://tanidareal.deviantart.com/
by

T H

on 16 May 2011

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Transcript of On Nothingness and Poems

THERE IS POETRY AS SOON AS WE REALIZE THAT WE POSSESS NOTHING. --JOHN CAGE There are two interpretations: John Cage's interpretation, and my interpretation. - JOHN CAGE - Born in 1912, John Cage is an American composer, musician, poet, philosopher, and many more. He had unconventional ideas about music, and pioneered unusual musical ideas. He had a prepared piano whose sounds have been altered by the different objects placed in the strings. He believed in living accord with nature, and placed high importance in chance. In fact, he composed music using chance, by asking an ancient divination book questions, and writing down notes as this book answered them. Cage strived to create music that is free of human will. Perhaps this is why he placed such an high importance on NOTHINGNESS. In fact, his most famous composition is a song called 4'33'', in which there is complete silence, save the noises from the audience. In this way, music is created free of human will - music becomes the silence which every single person will experience differently. And so, John Cage strived for this nothingness. He stated "I have nothing to say, and I'm saying it, and that is poetry." He believed that poetry is found in "nothing". (and his belief and interpretation) 4'33'' Yet perhaps, there is another interpretation. Often in life, we bemoan the path that life has dealt out to us. Worry of lack of food, lack of shelter, lack of money, and lack of possessions haunt the footsteps of many as they walk through life. "There's poetry as soon as we realize that we ," John Cage said. Perhaps he was looking towards the future, towards a time where possession and prestige and money are an high priority in life. Studies show that a modern man works far longer and harder than a farmer in medieval times. A farmer rises and sleeps with the movement of the sun, and is content with a simple life. A modern man works into the night, bringing his work into his home, and may ignore his health in exchange for a large project, for more income. possess nothing Yet we are be more than our possessions. Myriads of poems are found in the simplicity of life - of a life with no possessions, yet still of fullfillment in the simple beauty. Some examples may include Robert Frost's "A Prayer in Spring", where he states "Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;" and "And make us happy in the darting bird". Stripped of possessions, we are the unadulterated, filtrated ink of life's emotions and experiences. Then words become the , and poetry, the on which we record our life story and the wisdom we gained along the way. paintbrush canvas Words is the paintbrush painting our emotions and experiences on the canvas of poetry... capturing our experinces, our memories, into the pages of and ... black white The poem "Mother to Son" by Langston Hughes aptly demonstrates this point. In the end, poetry can be found in "nothing", yet encompasses everything.

It is found in the lack of possessions and in the experience of walking on broken staircases..... Mother To Son
- Langston Hughes, 1922 Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor –
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now –
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. With coarse and simple words, a mother explains to her son the nuggets of wisdom she had found in her way though life. In this poem, there are no rhyme, no alliteration. There are no allusions, nor synecdoches. There is simply an overarching metaphor that life is a broken staircase. In a matter-of-fact tone, this poem explains that though life may have splinters and tacks, one must keep on going on. The simple language and slangs used this poem seem to indicate that the mother is from a simple, perhaps poor background. Life has been hard on this mother, and most of her life was spent overcoming obstacles and walking around in the dark with little possessions. What does she have left? A son who she loves, and an abundance of experience and wisdom which she hopes to impart to her son. Through this poem, all the unconditional love and unadulterated concern of a mother is painted. The pure essence of motherhood is captured within this poem. "Look," the mother told her son, "my life is this broken staircase, and I have nothing but myself. Yet I am not a broken shell, so, my son, listen to my words and learn." And so through this poem, a mother with no possessions pass on invaluable experiences to her son. in our experiences..... and in life... Life ain't been no crystal stairs It's had tacks in it, and splinters, I began a poem by writing its end, Like gunpowder exploding
Before the touch-paper is lit, I finished that poem, Before I’d started it ... I BEGAN A P O E M B Y W R I T I N G ITS END, L I K E G U N O P W D E R E X P L O D I N G BEFORE THE TOUCH-PAPER I S L I T , I FINISHED THAT POEM, B E | F O R E I ' D S T A R T E D T I . . . .
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