The Whole of Life is One Long Poem

The whole life is one long poem, for after all what is poetry but the play of sense and senselessness?

No matter the shape of things it’s all a poem, even when that shape is mangled, so twisted that the poem is speechless.

Chapter after chapter of a long poem.  Chapter of birth, followed by many chapters of inconsequentiality and consequentiality, then the consequential or inconsequential final, end chapter.  Even if nobody reads it, it is still written, in the morning as it is in the midday, in the midday as it is in the evening, in the evening as it is in the night’s listlessness.

To think that lion’s mane will turn gray, the thought touches a man as it rides by, the old face of a man who used to be young, working to no end on some minor project, writing his poem as we do, waiting for the world’s closing caresses.

The trivial flaw of living at the wrong time, the less than trivial flaw of living at the right time, all written down in some nameless book somewhere, or only sighed, the sigh too nameless.

Animal poetry, for the animal has its poetry too, a poetry of barks and mews, a poetry of twittering, a poetry of buzzing clicks, a poetry of tool-making, opposable thumbs, big brains and upright posture, a poetry of earthy joy and sexuality as well as a poetry of our demanding, utter hopelessness.

Long lines with silences in between them and in between the words themselves, the words themselves other names for silences, silence and word indifferently together, not side by side but one inside the other, rest and music of some unhistorical nexus.

In the cells, in the smallest atom, in the strings vibrating suffering as it vibrates hearty cheer even with the dirt, in the spaces between these as well as in the dark night surrounding, there is the long preparation for poetry, even in the dark night surrounding in its thickness.

All things surrounded thereby and all things speaking, even the silence, and all things silent, even the speeches, the world’s interminable garrulousness.

Even two bodies meeting on the trail to exchange chemical messages, the smaller bodies as well as the larger bodies, even two bodies meeting to crash into lovemaking or to feel parts of themselves ache or to destroy each other have the capacity for song, just as one body has the capacity for song, or many bodies, all tied onto the harness of a music totally conductorless.

One and one and two, and two and two and four, and four and four and eight, and even eight and eight and the great hollow zero, all of them, whether arrived at through addition or multiplication or subtraction, all are numbered dreams or fantastic nightmares, or dumb sleepless nights in their numbness.

Being cornered into expression like some hunted living thing, the whole thing seems so predetermined, the being buffeted about seems all so tempestuous.

Driving and seeing from our pathetic prosthetic carriers not only each other, but the wide field on either side of the highway, the sun dripping down in its way on the field and on a few contented horses chewing hay in the field, the world for a time only an expansive circle drawn around cars driving north and driving south, driving east and driving west on the State Road, above us the exploded stuffed animals parading in the sky, ahead a barn and a house next to the barn, a woman, far away from the nearest town hanging her gowns for church, shaking her head at us in our automobiles, our wheels and other wheels, even the great wheel around us spinning, we lose track of ourselves and the treads of our tires no longer hug the pavement, we crash into each other, waiting on the shoulder a long time for assistance, until a policeman comes, who writes his little poem on a sheet of paper with a carbon copy underneath, poem for the records, has our cars towed away and calls us, with his meaning-packed word, reckless.

Affect as much as poetry, the initial shock of being here as much as affect, the drear habit of going on at your business as much as the initial shock, the warmth as much as the cold, even that winter we cannot become without freezing to death, even the cold heartless stare of nothing, and something as well as nothing, and everything as well as something, all things at bottom a note in the breathless bottomlessness.

Being important to follow, or not being important to follow, squinting ahead to something you lost but no longer care for, maybe a lost lover or a lost phrase, a lost habit or the lost ordinariness of the song of days, coming towards you or coming away, or never having been there, these durations, and durations are breaths, and breaths are phonemes, and phonemes are stops and starts, and stops and starts are words, and a mess of words together is a sentence and a sentence is a paragraph or a stanza and a stanza is part of a long poem, all one long poem, its confusing racket, its lip-smacking tastiness, hunger and satiety, richness and dearth, the earth being a monumental arena for epics and meaningful phrases of all sorts as well as the earth in its planet form, dust collected from other dust, visible with the most powerful of efforts and a certain trust in the darkness, but nothing special in the heavens, pale, vulnerable to meteorites, distracted from its long silence by some noisy creatures hopping and digging around on its surface, all things loaded heavy with meaning as well as all things in rollicking rolling senselessness.

The end of it all something like the start, even if it seems that we traveled somewhere, just plainly being as what is not plainly is not, or if they’re both ambiguous, even if it proves the whole enterprise useless.


  1. “Even if nobody reads it, it is still written,”❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Richard Q says:

      Thank you. Even in the short history of the written word, so much unread.


  2. The Hinoeuma says:

    You are sort of a long form David Redpath…a fountain of words & feelings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Richard Q says:

      I am just now, through you, being acquainted with David’s writing. Thank you! A fountain feels fitting. Your words themselves here are a fountain of delight.


  3. Mr. Z says:

    So, this is what I want you to do today. steam rice. When it’s ready, take the simplest bowl you have and scoop a quarter cup of cooked rice into it. Eat the plain rice in complete silence. Chew each bite slowly and completely before you swallow. Do not leave a grain of it in the bowl. Wash the bowl and put it away. Write a poem about this. But do not write a poem about rice.
    Don’t ask why.
    Don’t say no. If you don’t choose to do this. Say nothing. Make no reply.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Richard Q says:

      My apologies for not getting to this one
      No rice! As soon as I make my next pot of rice, however…expect a poem!


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