They begin beating it with a hose

Was out with a friend and new friends of friend tonight, and it’s always nice to meet people who are friendly from the start. As the default. Lot of the word “friend” in that first sentence, but that’s okay. I’m off-kilter now and am starting to search for kilter. Good I’m not an etymologist because they have little luck with kilter. What an awful lede this is…

The point here is my favorite random link of last week wasn’t a link at all but friend Cory happening to mention the poem “Introduction to Poetry” in her Facebook status. “I ask them to take a poem / and hold it up to the light / like a color slide,” it begins, and the lyrical motion gets to his students wanting still to torture the poem into giving up its secrets (i.e. the hose beating). Which I love. One of my favorite class moments in high school was Mrs. Free in junior English slamming me for trying to assign exact meaning to a Great Gatsby passage. I was likely reactionary-pissed at the time, but that lesson-later-realization made Mrs. Free, among other reasons, one of my favorite high school teachers and put Gatsby on the road (watch out for banana cars) to being my favorite book. Favorite art, I think, is aspirational, obviously or obliquely. I wrote here last winter that my new take on love was, sort of, to hold it to the light instead of beating it with a hose. That approach has remained a work-in-progress — but progress still. I’ve become more convinced than ever this synthesis is the way to go.

Or maybe the point is still to come. That last paragraph feels more exploratory than conclusive. Which, again, just a couple sentences later, I have to keep reminding myself is absolutely the point.

One thought on “They begin beating it with a hose”

  1. This is an intriguing write-up, Patrick.
    Could you please expatiate on –
    1)how one can torture a poem
    2)how love can be held to the light and
    3)how one can torture love by beating it with a hose

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