Artificial Intelligence

The Weave of the Earth (Poetry in the Modern World Part 2)

Let me demonstrate why playing with pattern is a vital strategy. Here is what looks like a hill.

Note it is made out of rocks. They have done a good job of catching the sun and melting some snow.

Farther along the hill, there is what looks like flax.

And down below the hill there are ducks, quack quack quack.

A lot is to be gained by separating these things into ducks, flax and rocks, because one of those we can’t eat, and you don’t want to break your teeth. This is important stuff! And if you’re going to do that, you’re going to count. It’s a thing. But, perhaps there is something else to be gained by viewing all this differently. Let us let bunchgrass show us. Those ducks, well, they have wings and fly, and they’re noisy and beautiful about it, so we call “flying” a duck thing, or a bird thing, at any rate, and if anything else flies, we call it a metaphor, but not so fast. Look at bunchgrass…

I know I showed you this before, but now I have a full sequence, plus ducks, so this is fun. Bunchgrass gets a bit of snow and sags, droops and huddles down, but the sun shines through that snow and heats her stalks and she starts to lift up through it.

First, a few stalks…

… and then using the sun as an arc of energy defined by her lift, she lifts the snow in her own image…

… with a great heave-ho…

… and stands tall again, ready once more to melt the ice and snow and deliver it to her green heart.

A whole tumbled boulder flock of her and her sisters.

And here’s the thing. We could say, “Oh, like stones…”

… and of the stones, we could say, “Oh, like ducks…”

… and of the ducks, and the lifting and dropping of their wings that enable them to fly, we could say, “Oh, like grass.”

Well, yeah, we could. The whole process doesn’t have to start with ducks or rocks. You see, the grass has been living in the sun, absorbing light, and manipulating light and heat effects for a long, long time, since the late Cretaceous period, in fact, when flowering plants and birds also got their start. What? Yup!

This flax (which make clumps on the land between the clubs of bunchgrass above the clumps that are rocks) speaks to us of a life in the wind, where the grass and the ducks also live, all of them in a scatter. It’s not that to say the flowers or grasses are spreading their wings, or lifting them and letting them fall, or even flying, is to make a metaphor which compares them to ducks. It’s not a metaphor. They are all equal. It’s just that the ducks have internalized the energy processes involved and the grasses and flowers are doing them using the wind and the sun — riding their energy edges (just as a duck’s wings do). Rather than say that grass flies like a duck, we could as easily say that ducks …

… ducks …

… ducks! …

…ducks!!!! …

… are self-propelled grass. Oh, what’s this? Um…

You: What are you going on about, Harold? Sheesh. We just wanted to feed the ducks. Poor things.

Me: Well, um …

You: Ducks aren’t grass. Ducks eat grass. Plus insects. And snails. And aquatic plants.

Me: They pretty much eat anything, really.

You: Yeah, but grass doesn’t eat grass. And what’s this about rocks?

Me: I like rocks.

You: We noticed.

Blush. No, really. The grass rises and falls in waves, and lifts and sinks down…

… like rock in water …

…and water in air…

… and the grass…

…cuts through time and light … and the flax, too…

… flocks.

Like rocks. There are some points of wisdom to be drawn from this play. For one, these living beings arose together in the same age of the earth and represent its energies. They are interconnected. They are the creatures of a drying earth, and represent energies that come together in tight groups and manipulate the energies of air and heat: amplify their effects. Like the moon creating tides. Whether they do so as animated life forms or ones deeply entwined with physical processes is not a huge distinction. For another, they flock. Now that word, “flock”, is a beauty. It indicates that many of our ancestors knew all this stuff, because a flock is a fleck, a raised nap on a weave (of flax), that makes a smooth, tightly-woven surface rough and provides interest, or, shall we say, catches the finger or touches the eye. Sure, we use the word in reference to birds, and say “Birds flock.” And what that means is that out of the weave of the world (not a planet but precisely this weave) birds are textured, just as the stones, the grass and the flax are. The birds, however, are no less anchored to the weave than the grass is rooted in it, and if they wave their wings and fly it does not make them independent of the weave. Yes, they can migrate long distances and escape danger and seek out food through flight and paddling, but that is because they have accentuated the water forms of the weave, while grass has concentrated on light. They both share the wind. And as for the stones, well, these ones are only 12,000 years old.

The new kids on the block. So, rather than saying the birds are like rocks, we still need to say the rocks are like birds, nesting…

… and see what that tells us about these shared environments. Isn’t a “nest” a shape made in the shape of a creature’s own body, usually to raise its young, because otherwise eggs, like stones (and apricots), roll around and fall?

Note that the robin’s eye above sits in just such a nest. Yeah, you got it. The apricot is an eye. And a moon. And so the robin sits in a tide pool. Nice.

Counting machines have been taught to build such nests for us, but they can’t tell when we’re playing along and when we’re being serious. Here’s a flock of waxwings right now.

Well, not yet, but they will come, sure as rain. Ah, here’s one right now, checking it out. It is grass that has taken flight. Look how the sun has duplicated herself, or flocked, on those branches!

A few hundred suns, and each one the sun in its entirety, with the earth in its core, which we spit out back onto the earth, because, well, that’s just like a robin sitting in a nest. Earth is born in earth, from earth, just with intensified energy bonds at key points. In short, we fit together because we are the same substance. There is so much talk of the Anthropocene Age. Do not let yourself be found guilty of its abuses or, better, do not let your guilt blind you of how you can climb out of it on a ladder of light. You have been given ancestral gifts to do something about it. We all have.

Even seagulls, who thrive on disruption (which puts ducks into a right quack). But that’s a weaving story for another day.

9 replies »

    • As with all things in the play Hamlet’s “words” had multiple meanings, depending upon where one stood in relationship to them. The whole play is built out of these lenses. What did you have in mind?

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      • I know. It’s really very splendid. What I am still trying to figure out is how the double-meaning, or multiple-meaning works out as a principle, which can extend outwards. Any insight on that? Somehow his illegal catholicism has something to do with it, I suspect. But that might be a red herring.

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