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Wednesday, 7 March 2007

What You See Is Not What You've Got


Perception was a subject they knew well,
those for whom the term “Impressionists”
was meant as denigration, those who took 
to heart what we know vaguely, but forget:
the way a line between a white cloud and the sky
does not exist; how nothing that we see exists,
how lines - the finest line you could conceive - consists
of an infinity of lines that interweave and dance
in ways we could not know; the way the world 
is never with us, even in our finest hours;
or how a light wave of a certain wavelength lights,
not structures that are seen, but those within, 
that see; the way grey (possibly) and straggly 
forms of nature blossom in the mind
as under glass, or they 
are moulded by deft dendrite fingers 
on familiar armatures.


Imagine one content to catch
the fleeting moment, see him sat
before a fairground booth called 
"Great Conundrum Hall", 
It is a place of skewed perspectives, 
angles craftily awry. Here visitors 
grow tall, diminish, by simply walking round the room,
he sees them shrink by coming close 
or move away to gain great height. 
What does he think, what does he feel?
Amusement? No. Dumbfoundedness? Not so. He knows
how surface is the only substance. But suppose
his wife or lover should appear and walk the boards instead,
what then? This is a changed scenario: he sees
the room distort, the figure steady and unchanged.
The structure's scale is altered as she moves
because he knows how that which holds
our love is solid; all the rest is flux and flow.

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