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Just Words (Final)

by Zettel 

Posted: 28 June 2005
Word Count: 362
Summary: Been meaning to come back to this 'found' poem for a while. A few changes, mostly structuring the stanzas to try to embrace a philsophical idea. The thread that links these remarks is perhaps more philosophical than poetic but it now hangs together as much I will ever make it.


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JUST WORDS (Final)

The world is all that is the case
the totality of facts
not things
The limits of my language
are the limits of
my world

I know what youíre thinking
makes sense
I know what Iím thinking
does not
A cloud of philosophy
condensed
in drop of grammar

Words get their meaning
from a form of life
we share
My words tell you
what I think
my actions tell you
who I am
I enter the world through
my words
I affect the world through
my acts
In the beginning
was the deed
not the word

Our task is to prevent
the bewitchment
of our intelligence
by language
What we cannot speak of
we must pass over
in silence

My attitude to another human being
is an attitude
to a soul
I am not of the opinion that
you have a soul
Death is not an event in life
we do not live
to experience
death

How things are in the world
is not the mystical
but that it exists
Goodness does not exist
until we act.
Beauty does not exist
until we see

I am not in the world
I am the limit
of my world
as with my eye
in my visual field

Things that cannot be put into words
make themselves manifest
this is what is mystical
The inexpressible is the thought
that shows the limits
of what we can say

What is ragged
should be left ragged
for that is life
If our lives are a story
it is one we write
not read
but it is a strange story
with no ending
The solution to the problem of life
is seen in the vanishing
of the problem
Is there any problem of life
that would be solved
by living for ever?
If eternity is not
infinite duration
then eternal life belongs
to those who live
in the present
Don't play
with what is deep
in another person

The meaning in a poem
should not stand naked
but be clothed
by the heart
There are remarks that sow
and remarks that reap
And the philosopher said
One should write philosophy
as one writes a poem






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Comments by other Members



James Graham at 16:22 on 30 June 2005  Report this post
You've 'paragraphed' the original - no other changes, am I right? Splitting it into sections like this makes it much more accessible. When you first posted this, you wondered if it would resonate. I think the answer for most readers would be that some lines resonate more than others. For me,

The meaning in a poem
should not stand naked
but be clothed
by the heart


resonates because it strikes me as a perfectly simple expression of something I feel is profoundly true. It might not strike someone else that way, but other lines in the poem might. Another section that resonates for me is the lines 'The solution...living for ever?' Are there two separate Wittgenstein quotes here, which you have juxtaposed? They certainly complement each other - not in an obvious way, but obliquely. My brain began to hurt a little at

How things are in the world
is not the mystical
but that it exists


'That' is in italics in your original, which I thought made it clearer. I think I can grasp the thought, but just can't get it to resonate. But to another reader it might be a c-major chord.

James.

engldolph at 21:01 on 30 June 2005  Report this post
HI Z,

I remember the original..and I think this structure is more manageable for the reader ..and you can feel more the work of the poet (you) in how you organize the found words. It is a clever and appropriate transposition of Wittgenstein..and in some ways brings a new feeling to his words, which in regular text, can get a bit long and labarynthine to me..

particularly liked (perhaps because they had a more direct relevance to poetry) ....


What we cannot speak of
we must pass over
in silence

The inexpressible is the thought
that shows the limits
of what we can say

What is ragged
should be left ragged
for that is life

The meaning in a poem
should not stand naked
but be clothed
by the heart


Thanks for arranging these thoughts -- stimulates others..

Mike

Zettel at 00:08 on 01 July 2005  Report this post
James

Thanks. There was some non-Wittgenstein linkage before and I have added one or two small bit since. You're right the main change is structure. Yes two different quotes from W about the problems of life: the "if eternity....present" is me expanding th thought and linking.

Sorry your head hurt. The thought follows from W's original view that the there are no values in the world which is comprised only of facts. Value enters the world through our actions - doing 'good' or appreciating/creating beauty etc - and therefore through our use of words which is a shared activity within a shared form of life.

Interestingly, only today I saw a remark of Einstein's quoted in Native American Gabriel Horn's ('White Deer Of Autumn') book 'The Book of Ceremonies - A Native Way of Honouring and Living The Sacred' Einstein said:

No hierarchy of life exists, no superioir life forms, just equal parts that make up the whole' - I think W would have agreed with that.

I only took out the italics cos itals seem a bit naff in a poem.

Mike

Thanks. There aren't many major philosophers whose words seem poetic and it was the thought of brnging these together that always struck me as worth doing.

Thanks for the positive remarks.

Regards

Z


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