All 2 entries tagged Little

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October 30, 2007

Big things, Little things

So another of our delicious multitude of assignments this week was to write a poem about something really huge as if it was tiny, and something really tiny as if it was huge. I started writing "Very Little" first, under the title of "The Over-Human" - yes, that is a reference to Nietzsche. The idea of the Ubermensch in Nietzsche is (under some interpretations at least) of an entity with such an amazing force of moral will that they can reform reality to match its desire.

On the Nietzschean model, the fundamental substrate of reality is morality and will, so reshaping reality is a matter of getting people to accept your moral standard - the Ubermensch has the capacity to shatter the chains of moral law in which they are raised, and then reconstruct a new morality. The destruction is the act of the lion, the reconstruction is the act of the lamb. I thought, why not have a literal, physical ubermensch? 

Don't take "Very Little" as being an accurate representation of any Nietzschean thought - I just used the philosophy as a stepping stone.

In writing the poem, I came to the realisation that I was diminishing very large things by inflating the character of the speaker - by giving them a grotesquely huge ego, I was able to shrink enormous physical objects into diminuity. That helped me deal with the other poem of the pair, which I was struggling with at the time. I applied the reverse principle - give the speaker a tiny little voice. That was where "Big Thing" came from. I wanted to make it longer, but realised quite quickly that it had everything it needed. I like it a lot better than I like "Very Little" in fact.


Very Little

At the finish,
I will break Physics.
I will shake off the chains of her law
and stand a lion, a thousand lightyears tall: ignoring all
I will make the world mine.
I will hold it like an atom in my palm,
crush it like Gravity
will smash the final stars.
Her velvet glove will close on those specks
and make one last spatter of diamonds:
my fist will close on Earth and I will make coal.
I will breathe galaxies, look with contempt
on the works of Time, run Entropy to Death:
grind Ozymandias to dust, and Shelley.
I will trash everything.
There is no mercy in my heart;
its beat bursts suns and sends continents flying.
I am so grand,
and I ask not much:
to kill a universe is very little.

Big Thing

Oh big thing!
Oh, big big thing!
Scaly and rough, and
Barky and tough,
Oh, big thing!

First attempt at a poem about a big little thing

So, two assignments this week, and this was my first attempt at writing a poem about something small seen so close up as to be huge. Whilst looking at a tree branch in extreme close-up, I was struck by the amazing resemblance to the gorgeous, overwrought fantasy enviroments from things like Labyrinth, Lord of the Rings, El Labirinto del Fauno and similar - so I thought, why not make a fantasy adventure? Sadly, it didn't come through, and I'm now of the opinion that it wasn't the right way to go about the premise.

The structure I was going for here was an attempt to constrain myself, but I don't think its particularly interesting or worthwhile. The basic premise is that the word that ends the first line and the third of each stanza should also end the sixth and the fourth, respectively. That happened just by accident after I'd written the first stanza (which of the three, I'm most happy with), and I tried to apply it to the rest of the poem.

Consider this as being unfinished.

The Little Person

One thousand nights I've climbed this tower
this stretching tower,
that tickles the sky.
One thousand suns I've seen in the sky,
touching the top
of the tower.

This crooked tower that dreams of the sun
is mottled and green
and hard like stone.
Valleys are gouged through her skin of stone -
cut by hard rivers
or burnt by the sun.

Forests sleep in those dark valleys,
watching me climb,
waiting for rain.
When Spring calls in her tides of rain,
we'll drink and we'll play
in the valleys.

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