Thread: First Step
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Unread 06-10-2021, 06:41 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 5,348
Default First Step

Version II: First Step

There are three types of meaning in the world:
what we can know, what we might think to know,
and what we cannot fathom. This is how
a painted eland, brown and white, might fill
a cave wall, or a drinking cup be held
now under glass. You can’t expect to trace
some universal pattern here. A stem
or leaf might be and then might dissipate,

their tilt is not for meaning. But each word
we fashion and each structure we create
speaks in our language. I’ve been pondering
the way this kouros steps up into art
from the brute life of matter. At his sides,

his two clenched fists. The man whose grave he graced
has done with talking, and the kouros too
says not a word. And yet, a web of sense
descends around him. Every inch a king,
says Lear, and every inch of marble here
maps out the artist’s language. It is not
our own – this kouros is unknown to us,
he’s too far off – yet he articulates
a freedom, an intent that summon up
their echo in my brain. Cut from the stone
into what we might call reality,

in this now-silent room the kouros strides:
a stride forever taken, a first step.


Version I: First Step

Out of the flood of history, in which
a painted eland, brown and white, might fill
a cave wall, or a drinking cup might end
its journeys under glass, you can’t expect
to trace a universal pattern. Leaf
and root and stem subsist and dissipate,
their tilt is not for meaning. But the tools
we fashion and the structures we create
speak in our language. I’ve been pondering
the way the kouros here steps into art
from the brute life of matter. At his sides,

his two clenched fists. The man whose grave he graced
has done with speaking, and the kouros too
says not a word. And yet, the web of sense
descends around him. Every inch a king,
says Lear, and every inch of marble here
maps out the artist’s language. It is not
entirely mine, but it articulates
a brand of freedom and intent that finds
an echo in my brain. Across the page
in this now-silent room the kouros strides –
a stride forever taken, a first step.


Kouros: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=...AAAAAdAAAAABAD

Last edited by John Isbell; 06-15-2021 at 07:45 AM.
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