by David Solway (January 2019)
Title unknown, David Searle
Today’s virtual polity regularly features dilution of content but intensification of emotion via social media. Twitter, one key social media platform, is aptly named.
Birds, of course, are very fond of Twitter,
a medium made for a canary
who, when not on Facebook, likes to flitter,
boasting a shrunken vocabulary,
sending out missives by bushels and pecks—
a bird intellectually effete
whose passion consists of lexical specks,
the whole of his soul reduced to a Tweet.
In reality, he’s reduced to hash.
He taut he taw a puddy tat, and soon
he’ll find he did. Sufferin’ Succotash,
he might have known that life is no cartoon.
Sylvester the Cat will cweep up unheard
and that will be the end of Tweety Bird.
Let me try to get a solid handle
on a measure of unprecedented
distance—say, a kind of standard candle,
neither store-bought nor waxen nor scented—
between the living mind and loving heart,
between the intellect of old Saint Tom
and mischievous Duns’ voluntary art,
between the theories of Erich Fromm
and his admiration for Karl Marx,
between the heaven-wide discrepancy
that haunts the dancing play of lights and darks
and luminals Coleridge called “fancy.”
Yet needs, my dear, no Cepheid to gauge
the space of love that’s measured by this page.
Note: Cepheid variables (aka “standard candles”) are stars whose rotation periods are related to their luminosity and are used to measure sidereal distances. Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) believed that Intellect determined Will, allowing us to make right choices. Duns Scotus (1265-1308) took issue with the Angelic Doctor’s assumptions, positing the primacy of Will or Desire and regarding Intellect as exerting a justifying function, which explains why we make poor decisions. Eric Fromm stressed that individual freedom was not possible under collective dispensations, yet thought Karl Marx a “refined” thinker and one of the “architects of the age.”
David Solway is a Canadian poet and essayist. His most recent volume of poetry, The Herb Garden, appeared in spring 2018 with Guernica Editions. A partly autobiographical prose manifesto, Reflections on Music, Poetry & Politics, was released by Shomron Press in spring 2016. A CD of his original songs, Blood Guitar and Other Tales, appeared in 2016. Solway’s current projects include work on a second CD, The Book of Love, with his pianist wife Janice Fiamengo and writing for major American political sites such as PJ Media, American Thinker and WorldNetDaily.
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