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img862Often asked and sometimes answered with bewilderment, is the question: How does one write? What is that process?

For me, it is not about planning to write an hour a day, a poem, or a book. It is an association of memories, experiences, things you read, the world around you and your reactions and thoughts about all of it. It is about  connecting dots, dissimilar, juxtaposed or seemingly random but in a confined order of self imposed importance.

Allow me to illustrate how it can work, or how it works for me at times. Since all writing is a personal experience, some of my blog posts are written and linger, imperfect in content or with parts missing. Some posts have very private thoughts behind them, being put down on paper in a comprehensible way is not an easy task, like thoughts they are mulled over, not written down, but stored for another cataclysm or association that serves the purpose, clarifies the original thought or feeling, and therefore becoming more understood as I put it down on paper.

At the top of this post, the images of rockets reminded me of space travel and remembering a poem I read a while back and an article about Keppler and Galileo, I decided to reread that poem again since the choice of words by the poet William Jay Smith (1918-?) I thought to be interesting, and besides how many poems can you read about the scientific mind and influence of Galileo? So here it is, in the poet’s own words:

Galileo Galilei

Comes to knock and knock again

At a small secluded doorway

In the ordinary brain.

 

Into light the world is turning,

And the clocks are set for six;

And the chimney pots are smoking,

And the golden candlesticks.

 

Apple trees are bent and breaking,

And the heat is not the sun’s,

And the Minotaur is waking,

And the streets are cattle runs.

 

Galileo Galilei,

In the flowing, scarlet robe,

While the stars go down the river

With the turning, turning globe.

 

Kneels before a black Madonna

And the angels cluster round

With grave, uplifted faces

Which reflect the shakers ground

 

And the orchard which is burning,

And the hills which take the light;

And the candles which have melted

On the altars of the night.

 

Galileo Galilei

Comes to knock and knock again

At a small secluded doorway

In the ordinary brain.

No, I have not been to the moon or the stars, but if you have ever been in Italy in the Toscana or Veneto region, and walked though ancient cities in the North and laid your hands on a stone wall made 700 years ago in the countryside, you might be able to recall or imagine that powerful feeling of someone gone before you, gazing at those stars, thinking about matter, heaven and hell as it was portrayed in his time, perhaps he imagined travel, bridged a distance we cannot see with a naked eye, concluded a chapter in the long history of mankind, opened a door to another future and who knows from where.

500 years after Galileo, and to quote the text on the cover at the top of this post: “A great Galaxy of classic tales of imaginative and future fiction“, much of that owned to one man gazing at stars. That was the start of the subconscious association!

William Jay Smith was the nineteenth United States Poet Laureate   an honor bestowed by an Act of Congress. Below is a YouTube video of Smith reading his own poetry at The New York Society Library in 2009 when he was 90 years old. He starts to read his poetry at about 10 minutes into the video.

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