Poetic Knowledge



                 I know ferns are green, the orange is fuschia, and the blood is red…

This is so because I saw; once we see a thing we will not forget it. Humans differ from other living things since they can acquire knowledge beyond senses. The past and the future are nothing but a design. The blood of the birds is also red yet they cannot draw an orange. Our intellect giving meaning to sensual stimuli seems to be the most dexterous painter. There are colors of other objects even of concepts. The colors of patience, pain, fury and joy could only be recognized by poets. Metin Altıok was saying:

                  “I dyed meticulously the thread of love

                 The wounded color of going but not finding it there”

                 Even though you scan the Rainbow, you cannot see the color of going but not finding it there; it is not a real thing. Being unreal does not mean it does not exist. Numbers, geometrical shapes, prepositions do not appear; nevertheless we can acquire their knowledge. Our mind dismantles everything it grasps and condemns them to abstraction.  Chlorophyll gives the green color feature to the leaves. The Interior Angles of a Triangle add up to 180°. Water is composed of molecules of hydrogen and oxygen…

                 Knowing about these does not give us pleasure. Our knowledge creates a sentimental transformation only as long as it is digested through imagery.  Someone might say that you would win if you know that chlorophyll gives leaves the green color. In this case I would tell them that the cause of my joy would not be the knowledge but the monetary award of the competition.  Aesthetical enjoyment is something indirect. The fact that every poetry reading would give away its diversified pleasure means a testimony to the constant transformation of its organic texture. We would get from it a sense of value, not a profit. The humans who possess the sense of value would forsake immediate gains for the sake of beauties.

                 The beauty of poetry is hidden in the color of the imagery texture.

                 Imageries are subjective, and they forge as a result of the poet’s active attitude while perceiving the objects. To the objects poets attribute characteristics that are not in their own substance. All metaphors, illusions, similes are created consciously. This does not mean that poetry misinforms us. Everything within the realm of design can be transformed into an object of knowledge. Poetical knowledge belongs only to its own subject, and it cannot be transferred, verified.  Incorrectness stems from mixing the objective reality with poetical reality. Poetry ought to show as if the impossible actions are plausible. The poet could have said as follows:

                 ‘I meticulously dyed the thread of love red.’

                 Magic spell is gone; this so because we made the line rational. Rationality is a method employed by humans to feel secure as opposed to incongruous thoughts, odd scenes, unconventional shapes, colors, odors, taste. This way we would have a close call with freaking out.

                 Poetry means wildness!                           

                 The language of wildness is something illogical; in its poetry. The mind separates and analyses; but it does not penetrate. To penetrate, intuition is needed. Intuition is a knowledge competence like the mind and instinct. It comes before mind; yet it is not an independent capacity from the mind. Instinct is an organic feature; it gets rid of the distance, it sends the mind away. But the one that creates imageries is nothing but the mind by which subject and object diverge from each other. If there is no distance neither the designing. The explored locations should have lost their magic spell; just as the moon. Creating an imagery means switching from mechanical running of our intellect to thought deviations and jumps. Writing is a different action than comprehending. To grasp the thing through intuition which was brought out by the mind seems to be a paradox peculiar to poetry. The language falls short in explaining what is comprehended.

                 Poetical knowledge would not serve the will of the reader. One enters the water naked. The reader can penetrate into the poem better provided that he or she would eliminate prejudices. The poem ends and the emotion stays on. Recollection, the effect of the poetry is as deep as the emotion’s trail. This emotional trail constitutes the poetical knowledge. Instead of what did you learn question, the reader should be asked the following questions:

–   What did you feel?

–   I trembled like ferns…  

                 This is the situation Louis Aragon depicted:  “In poetry of which substance is a hurricane, every single imagery should spawn a cyclone. Cyclones cannot be identified; they are experienced. There: fear, apprehension, joy, death, loneliness reign; everybody is privately with their adventures. Auditory power of the words is more effective than their meanings. Every word heard does retrieve psychological events staying in our conscious. That is why “The wounded color of going but not finding it there” would not be only a line but the whole life of the reader.

                 Poetry gives us knowledge of life…

İlyas Tunç

Translated from Turkish by Mesut Şenol

Akatalpa Monthly Literature Magazine, December 2003, Issue: 48