Friday, August 11, 2006

Divergence

As a departure from the normal type of post here (there’s a normal post here? Good Lord, where!) … Ok, perhaps I’m overstating things: In an effort to say something in a different way (how’s that? Better. Good) I decided to use poetry as my means of communications … you could even say that this introductions is in free verse (well, you could, some might disagree, but they are Philistines, and who gives a damn about what they say anyway, right?), so the idea is fully integrated throughout my post.

This is partially, though not entirely, inspired by a wretched work (some rhymes in free verse, though unintentional, seem conventional and work quite well so don’t get formalistic on me, lest you write your own verse in rebuttal) that opined the plight of Zionists that were offended that they should be accused of being related to the nazis.

While I replied to the posting, my response said I agreed: indeed, I don’t think that way. For the Zionist is not unto the nazis you see. They are fascists, still evil, quite violent you see. But nazis, not quite, not Aryan, not white; der Juden would never be allowed in the Party, they’d be shown through the door and into the ovens.

… ah, the politics of hatred. How refreshing … and so pathetically wasteful. For your own edification, the original poem (if you want to call it that) is here, and the article, on DesertPeace’s site is here … which is where I commented on the article.


one more


after a time
but not always that long
yet with hardly insignificant gravitas,
it waits in the shadows,
lurking like a feral dog

with patience surprisingly profound
there is hardly time for reflection
before the violence begins again
before blood flows – again
before children die – again
the feral dog, satiated
again and again
as before

fire has fallen
from the sky
on trails of smoke
from the north
on streaks of fire
from birds of steel

do the dying children
really care
as they breath their last
agonized breath
where the bombs that killed them
came from?

whether dropped from an F-15
or launched from the shadows
of Hezbollah’s entrenchments
the child knows
only one thing …

they shall not see
one more day.

Copyright © 2006 by CrazyComposer
(aka Peter Amsel)


3 comments:

LadyCelticFire said...

Good point... The Zionists would never have been allowed in the Nazi party... I think I shall follow suit and NOT call them Nazis anymore, but be more specific and call them Facists... Good point indeed..

And thank you for making me your site of the day, I am humbled :D

DesertPeace said...

Go see what the original poster had to say about your comments..
http://desertpeace.blogspot.com/2006/08/zionists-are-not-nazis-guest-blog.html

CrazyComposer (aka Peter Amsel) said...

also posted to DesertPeace, where the original post exists

I would like to accept the statement by Mr Rance that the poetry of Mr Chetrit is a brilliant work of satire rather than the phlegmatic spewing of another rhetoric enamoured individual. Unfortunately, I am having a great deal of difficulty in finding evidence for that position. As I mentioned in my comment, I read the “textus receptus” – I went to the original post that Mr Rance had graciously provided, and did not find any indication that the intent of the poet, or of his words, was to do anything other than what the title of the work stated: “an Israeli Jew responds to the Lebanon Atrocities.”

Elsewhere on that site there is a post about a poetry festival scheduled to take place in Jerusalem, and one poet who refused an invitation because he was offended that Arab poets would lose their rights going through the Qalandiah check-point – not the poet of this questionable piece. As for Mr Chetrit and his post, however, there is nothing to indicate that it is even remotely related to satire.

This is the problem I’m having: I do not read poetry as one who enjoys the rhymes of the words, relishing the rhythm of the words and the way the individual syllables caress my mouth as the sounds are formed and flow out, taking on their short but expressive lives. That is how I write my poetry; I read poetry as though it is of the finest creations of an advanced civilization (all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding). As I read a poem I expect to be moved: to have my inner being stirred by the creative powers expressed by an individual (even unknown to me) who has managed to find a way to connect directly to the most important part of what I am.

The poem of Mr Chetrit does not carry any of the telltale signs that one would expect to find within the framework of a piece of satire. There aren’t rhetorical phrases that whisper ironies (either explicit or implicit), nor are there veiled references to archetypes that shatter the initial allusion leading me to believe that he actually meant what he was saying.

Lest you go charging back to the poem and begin parsing and analysing, let me stop you: the questions proposed in the second stanza (after the picture of the young man crouching over a dead child) and beyond are not what I was meaning by the rhetorical phrases: these are questions that lead to a dismissal and denigration of the person asking (the supporter of Lebanon, presumably).

Now, since I do like to believe that the poetry that I have been working on for years is someday going to find an audience, I will extend the benefit of the doubt to Mr Rance … solely for the reason that it is his contention that Mr Chetrit’s poem is, as he suggests, a biting satirical attack of those who are in favour of the current attacks upon Lebanon. On those grounds, and for essentially the same reasons as before but slightly different, now focusing on style, execution, tone and the overall zeitgeist, it saddens me to again conclude that this is an amazingly poorly executed work that lacks falls far short of its target.

If a work of satire is impossible to distinguish from a work with a serious tone then one thing is for certain: the author has failed in the most dramatic of ways, as though in an effort to describe a vicious, fire-breathing dragon, his reader ends up with the impression of a soft, cuddly kitten. The two are images that are completely and utterly incompatible with each other, just as satire should be plainly recognizable when placed amidst drama … at least, it is traditionally. Otherwise there’s no distinction (lest the writer wants to be deceptive, which is always a possibility).

Having said all that, I have had cause to re-read the poem several times (in preparation for my first comment and now for this response) and realize that the issue is even more veiled than initially examined: this is not a question of satire and intent, it is one of language and irony. There is a difference between satire and irony (which you may explore for yourself, this isn’t meant to be a dissertation on poetic device) though subtle, it is important, and makes a great difference in the way a piece is perceived (though it is even more helpful to the reader if there are other clues to assist them).

Now that I understand the poem better, it is possible to state the real issue: the difference between satire and irony. While Mr Chetrit’s poem could fulfil the requirements for being ironic (wouldn’t that be …), though if that is the case, it doesn’t change the fact that the technique is well veiled behind the way the piece is presented. Having the text placed amongst pictures (selected by the poet) does not automatically make us jump to the conclusion that their words are not supposed to be conveying the message that is weaved into their stream of interweaved syllables. We have all seen, thanks in part to the denizens of R.P. Murdoch, “fair and balanced” reporting on events accompanied by hand-selected images chosen specifically for their ability to manipulate the spin of the story in the direction that Murdoch wants the world to go.

If that means the declaration that George W. Bush has won an election, based on an impossible interpretation of data that no other news agency would use to come to any conclusion other than “results at this time are too close to call”. No, not the World according to Murdoch: when the order came to make the news what it should be (what he wanted), there it was.

A writer may say, “I mean this”, when something is presented, but if the work itself cannot express this idea without additional caveats and explanations, it seems to me that the work needs some improvement (“this is a house”, the label may say, the image is of a hole in the earth, so you ask where the house is, only to be told … the house was bombed … I still don’t see a house).

That brings me to the one thing that I have missed. I realize that it may have negatively influenced my impression’s of Mr Chetrit’s work: while I had thought that I had seen the “textus receptus” (the original), this is not, in fact, the case. The original was written in Hebrew and was not posted to that site. As I do not read Hebrew (or, thanks to parents who weren’t overly interested in passing on the traditions of our People, Yiddish) I cannot say, with certainty, that the ironic tone was not noticeable in the original.

That is one of the problems with language and its use in the written for, and of the Internet in particular. We lose the element of “tone” when we look at cold, hard words, on display before us on computer screens. The fact that websites sometimes look different from one computer to another only adds to the misery of misperceptions and wrong conclusions wrought by words that have divergent meanings relying heavily upon their context and their author’s desire to convey an idea to an audience.

I do not condemn Mr Chetrit and shall accept (with joy) that Mr Rance’s impression of the poem is contrary to mine, and therefore correct. As a fellow creative, I owe Mr Chetrit the benefit of the doubt that his intellect is being used for the good rather than the defence of sinister schemes meant to kill innocents (on both sides of the border). In this situation I am more than pleased to be wrong, for it means that there is a mind of extraordinary power on the side of peace. Tone, on the other hand, is one of things lost in translation.

Shalom, true Peace: without caveats, limitations or timetables. Just peace.