These Are Poems As Well

August 28, 2014 0 Comments

Untitled (for Natalie and Jeremy), by Derek Beaulieu

Look at the image above. This is poetry at its visual best. 

There isn’t any coherent string of alphabets. This absence of meaningful words is startling and it reminds us of the physical forms and aesthetics of alphabets – the swish of a ‘S’, the surprised expression an ‘O’ has, even the criss-cross of a ‘T’. Each alphabet acquires a depth and character depending on its font type, size and angle of rotation. The identity of each letter is influenced by its neighbours as well.

This visual composition takes the open form of poetry to the extreme by doing away with lines and stanzas completely. It heralds a new age where function is absolutely form.  
Like poetry, the following chemical equations contain alphabets on a surface. They are unique experiments (er hem) on how writings can occupy space. Observe the cyclic nature of the first equation, the flow of particles, how they enter and exit, how they obey universal laws. The precision of architectural lines in the benzene rings, alongside the calming flow of arrows. Hydrogen, oxygen, carbon – none of them are living BUT they form living things. They hint not only at the philosophy of science, but also at that of existence. Ultimately, we are collections of atoms that had come together and will be breaking apart. Perhaps the elliptical motions of electrons would guide us, just like how stars once guided shepherds. 


What's Today?

August 17, 2014 , 0 Comments

Here's an excerpt from The Tao of Pooh:

{Rabbit}   ... you can't help respecting anybody who can spell TUESDAY, even if he doesn't spell it right; but spelling isn't everything. There are days when spelling Tuesday simply doesn't count.

{Owl}   By the way, Pooh, how do you spell Tuesday?

{Pooh}   Spell what?

{Guy}   Tuesday. You know - Monday, Tuesday ...

{Owl}   My dear Pooh, everybody knows that it's spelled with a Two.

{Pooh}   Is it?

{Owl}   Of course. After all, it's the second day of the week.

{Pooh}   Oh, is that the way it works?

{Guy}   All right, Owl. Then what comes after Twosday?

{Owl}   Thirdsday.

{Guy}   You're just confusing thingss. This is the day after Tuesday, and it's not Thirds - I mean, Thursday.

{Owl}   Then what is it?

{Piglet}   It's Today!

{Pooh}   My favorite day.

Yup, Todays should be our favorite Days.


The Silence After A Sigh

August 04, 2014 0 Comments

There's something about these few months that defy words. A stirring bowl of emotions - waxing and waning, growing and receding, waiting - joy, lethargy, a fusion of minds, meeting fresh faces, saying goodbye to old spaces, catching up with memories - a period of change, of transition that resists easy description. So much to say, so few words.

How does one bid farewell to a familiar space where memories sift through every brick, every glass panel, every layer of paint? How to not tire of making small talk with near-strangers? How can one reconcile with the poems written in ignorant youth? 

There's so much to consider.

Is there guilt? About nurturing youngsters to be 'good and useful citizens' of a particular country? What's good and what's useful? Do goodness and usefulness necessarily coincide? Can't something be good but not useful? It seems as though the local education system is a factory preparing young people to fit into a particular economy that someone envisions. 

In the oceans of practicality and reasonableness, there are silvers of idealism, of people hoping to believe in a higher, more noble goal. Everywhere is grey. It's all about survival, about surviving long enough to afford public housing, procreate, raise one's genetic equivalents, then dying (hopefully with grace). Should there be any guilt to being so practical and teaching children to be equally practical?

And there's something ... heartbreaking ... when a student sits up and pays attention only after being told that the concept will be tested in the upcoming common tests. Not because he's interested. Not because he is curious about the world. Simply because the materials will be examined. How devastating. 

Then again, not all is lost. There are children who love to find out more about the world. They come to class, brimming with questions and excitement. One cannot dismiss them simply because they're quieter and less demanding. In every class, it's safe to say there's a bell-curve of attitudes.  

There's much to think, more than there is to write. Let's end off with this video of two elephants in an inflatable kids' pool: