This poem is called "crystal structure analysis" and I wrote it September 2021.
Line by line, I'll discuss the choices I made:
  • It starts "and so" because I knew I wasn't telling a story so I couldn't manage to give it a proper beginning and end. I was trying to say something true about the nature of things that has always been. "And so" is meant to give the impression that you already knew this, it was already here.
  • A gleaming shape is the crystal mentioned in the title but not in the body, and that's because I'm only wanting you to see the shadow of a crystal. It is not about a crystal, but how one is formed "from a set of rules," these being the laws of nature.
  • These same laws that form beautiful things also form disastrous things. This is like good and evil always in a match, fated to be in conflict.
  • "the story" is the human part of this process. We put a story onto things that happen, onto crystals that form. We put a value to the size, color, shape, luster, strength of all that the earth produces. Without our story, these things would still happen. I was told a story, and this is me trying to get outside of it, make sense of its structure to see how well it fits over reality.
  • "what isn't molten into what is" so if you're still with me, we're imagining a terrifying match of fates in which earth or nature will collide endlessly and out of it will come something of worth, there was nothing, then there was something, and that's always happening. Plus that line just sounds cool.
  • The stories we tell cannot help but credit divinity for the creation which we see around us. Transfiguration makes something more beautiful in the process. "Schema" could have been "protocol" but the sound of schema is better. And myth is involved in who we become by the stories we tell. This is what I'm trying to get at, but could have done a better job expanding this part. This set of lines is including words that invoke vague ideas. A friend who read this poem said that she appreciated that she could draw the lines herself, therefore give it her own meaning. That may be a strength this poem has, but probably not for the average person who maybe does not regularly consume poetry.
  • "and so" again. No beginning, no intro, just a set of observations. "And so" the nature of things, "and so" what do I do about it.
  • "I face myself". I hope that this line holds a weight, or has some gravity to it. It is the first mention of "I", late in the poem on purpose, because I am not the focus. It's This is how I find things to be, a conflict that has been interpreted as divine through stories I've been told. Breaking the rock is reference to Moses. Eating the fruit is reference to Adam. The stories I was told came from the Bible, and this was the basis of my understanding of life growing up. Moses is tested by God, and fails. He breaks the rock. Adam was supposed to respect the rules, he doesn't, he indulges. I am identifying with these stories in a way I never had before, seeing that they have something to do with me. The life I am promised is one where I continually face myself, when I've failed, when I have work to do. Just as it was, so it is. I am seeing truth in the story I was told. I am seeing myself in these biblical figures.
So I'm realizing this poem is difficult to follow, because it is even for me. I won't touch it anymore, however. I won't edit it further. I guess because I received it, and it's pure this way.
925 sats \ 6 replies \ @ek 6 Feb
Wow, this is one of very few posts where I actually read the post in full before going to the comments. While reading I actually got excited about the comments.
Just to find there are no comments. That's when I feel bad for SN and want to apologize for everyone else who read this before me and did write no comment. Yes, you got some sats which is a form of appreciation but for reasons, I like it more to receive comments. Like I can feel how some spent some time to write their comments and time is more valuable than sats, right? And some comments are just priceless. Wouldn't exchange them for any amount of sats. Ok, now I'm lying maybe so let's say only for unreasonable amounts.
I read the poem a few times before you started to analyze it and then I read it a few times more when I realized you're going to analyze it as if your analysis will be a test of my analysis.
I think I saw "from a set of rules" and "what isn't molten into what is" as some kind of cycle. And the last two paragraphs are about the cycle of human life and how complex things (modern life) emerge from simple things (molecules). Just like the crystal from the set of rules.
But your analysis is obviously more thorough. It felt a bit like sharing magic tricks ("so that's how you write a good poem?") but I like the transparency into your thought process.
But I wonder: is this your current analysis or do you still remember exactly what you thought when you wrote this poem in September 2021?
As your friend mentioned: it's nice that she can interpret it in her own ways. I wonder if you yourself can also interpret it in your own current ways.
I am guessing the lack of comments might be because it got posted later in the evening, US time. It's the middle of the night here. I'm just awake to let the dog out. I took one look at this post and knew I needed to give it more attention when I wake up in the morning.
335 sats \ 2 replies \ @ek 6 Feb
Mhh, yes, makes sense. And it was only posted 4 hours ago. I need to give it time.
But I was really excited about the comments. I think my huge disappointment shows in my comment haha
when I wake up in the morning.
Funny how time zones work. I am getting up now :)
414 sats \ 1 reply \ @siggy47 6 Feb
I couldn't resist. I read it and am risking insomnia. The combination of a really good, challenging poem, and the poet laying out the thought process in creating it is a rare, wonderful thing. I'm overwhelmed and now might be facing a sleepless night.
you flatter me, thank u
lol your comment pushed me to respond. Not that it isn’t a fine poem, but I’m literally typing this out with my baby girl strapped to my chest n my son’s hand clasped in mine. I can only give this a cursory read.
But here’s what struck me. My nick was once faterider - riding the tides of fate. For me, the notion that there can be multiple fates was in itself intriguing. Do the Universe lay out several fates in our lifetime for us to experience the myriad highs and lows of life? Or is there a particular destiny for each of us, just like how some people believe in soulmates?
I too prefer the word schema. My reporting officer used protocol in our recent work review - how I must abide by certain established norms n practices in my school (and not do anything too unprofessional). Guess you can infer that protocol isn’t one of my favourite words haha
to add some more context about when I wrote this/what I was thinking then, I had been reading Maps of Meaning by Jordan Peterson. I think this poem is my attempt to understand the ideas in that book. I was just beginning to have a renewed faith, but not like the one I'd had before as a kid. This is like my faith growing up. I wouldn't say I have a different perspective now, but I think I could write a new poem about the practice of faith and trust that comes from this framework for the world. maybe?
As a piece the poem itself is so rich in meaning just in the first reading. The notes and your thought process make it fascinating… I’m no poet and certainly no critic but you for sharing both parts.
I am reminded of books like Orwell’s ‘1984’ - reading it without the accompanying notes is rewarding but reading them with is both rewarding and fulfilling.
60 sats \ 0 replies \ @Car 6 Feb
that last line got me 👌
hi John!
Hey! Hopefully see you in Austin when I secure the sats for Clams next month. My affirmations skills are legendary as you well know lol
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