artificial intelligence

Reading the Book of the World

You know, any way you look at it, off to the south over the deer trail…

… or straight up (from the deer trail, sending the camera scrambling to dim the glare) …

… the old glacial riverbeds of the eskers, that formed in deep crevasses in and under ice two kilometres thick, are speaking. Hooooooo, Harold has really lost it now, eh. (The poor guy blushes.) But look! Each stone is a page in a book.

Just turn the pages for a bit. That’s the way to relax into this kind of reading. Flip…

… flip…

… flip.

I really don’t know a poem that could say it better. What’s more, on these pages, there are objects as dense as poems, kennings and words themselves. Here’s one, in a gravitational syntax.

Here she is, closer…

It’s an old book, and a new one at once. The pages develop over time. This chunk of seabed clay is slowly devolving back into, well, esker clay.

What an inspiration! And here’s a page in which the poem is set within an ancient macrobiotic crust, whose history goes back to the first life on earth.

And her daughters, the lichens, have joined with this one, to, oh my, make a duck?

And, what, a duck horse?

No, whew. A complex alignment of water, snow, sun, wind, deer, glaciers, seabeds, mountains, and plants that can be read with more surety than any novel by Margaret Atwood, any fugue by Bach or any poem by Rilke or Wallace Stevens, to pick a few out of a hat.

Are we teaching our children how to read these books?

The lesson is vital: one doesn’t read for ‘meaning’, or to deduce a ‘moral’, or any information that can be transferred into language. That would be like saying a word-poem only has ‘meaning’ if made into a rock and thrown up on an old riverbed in the sky.

Yet, here they are, in their ancient story, talking to us.

I first encountered this language when I was 5 years old, which was in, mumble mumble, blush, cough cough, 1963, and worked very hard to try to “read” it in the manner of a written text. I’m still reading it, but, lucky for us all have set the crazy text idea aside. I use the words only to bring you to the book. After that, you’ll have to go where words can’t. No esker nearby? No problem. A seashore will do. Here we are at Ruby Beach.

Lots of pages here!

Frankly, I think these kennings are brains.

If you pick them up, though, they lose their intelligence.

In its place, they gain artificial intelligence. They’re just objects. You can use them in a sentence, like “the” and “rock”, which is a powerful magic, but, um, it’s just not this, eh:

In comparison to that, it’s just possessiveness.

Not the prettiest of human attributes. Go forth, and read a book!

Just remember, all words are alive.

Even if they don’t move for millions of years.

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