Tentative (First Model) Definitions of Poetry


1 Poetry is a projection across silence of cadences arranged to break that silence with definite intentions of echoes, syllables, wave lengths.


2 Poetry is an art practised with the terribly plastic material of human language.


3 Poetry is the report of a nuance between two moments, when people say, 'Listen!" and 'Did you see it?' 'Did you hear it? What was it?'


4 Poetry is the tracing of the trajectories of a finite sound to the infinite points of its echoes.


5 Poetry is a sequence of dots and dashes, spelling depths, crypts, crosslights, and moon wisps.


6 Poetry is a puppet-show, where riders of skyrockets and divers of sea fathoms gossip about the sixth sense and the fourth dimension.


7 Poetry is a plan for a slit in the face of a bronze fountain goat and the path of fresh drinking water.


8 Poetry is a slipknot tightened around a time-beat of one thought, two thoughts, and a last interweaving thought there is not yet a number for.


9 Poetry is an echo asking a shadow dancer to be a partner.


10 Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly the air.


11 Poetry is a series of explanations of life, fading off into horizons too swift for explanations.


12 Poetry is a fossil rock-print of a fin and a wing, with an illegible oath between.


13 Poetry is an exhibit of one pendulum connecting with other and unseen pendulums inside and outside the one seen.


14 Poetry is a sky dark with a wild-duck migration.


15 Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and the unknowable.


16 Poetry is any page from a sketchbook of outlines of a doorknob with thumb-prints of dust, blood, dreams.


17 Poetry is a type-font design for an alphabet of fun, hate, love, death.


18 Poetry is the cipher key to the five mystic wishes packed in a hollow silver bullet fed to a flying fish.


19 Poetry is a theorem of a yellow-silk handkerchief knotted with riddles, sealed in a balloon tied to the tail of a kite flying in a white wind against a blue sky in spring.


20 Poetry is a dance music measuring buck-and-wing follies along with the gravest and stateliest dead-marches.


21 Poetry is a sliver of the moon lost in the belly of a golden frog.


22 Poetry is a mock of a cry at finding a million dollars and a mock of a laugh at losing it.


23 Poetry is the silence and speech between a wet struggling root of a flower and a sunlit blossom of that flower.


24 Poetry is the harnessing of the paradox of earth cradling life and then entombing it.


25 Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during a moment.


26 Poetry is a fresh morning spider-web telling a story of moonlit hours of weaving and waiting during a night.


27 Poetry is a statement of a series of equations, with numbers and symbols changing like the changes of mirrors, pools, skies, the only never-changing sign being the sign of infinity.


28 Poetry is a packsack of invisible keepsakes.


29 Poetry is a section of river-fog and moving boat-lights, delivered between bridges and whistles, so one says, 'Oh!' and another, 'How?'


30 Poetry is a kinetic arrangement of static syllables.


31 Poetry is the arithmetic of the easiest way and the primrose path, matched up with foam-flanked horses, bloody knuckles, and bones, on the hard ways to the stars.


32 Poetry is a shuffling of boxes of illusions buckled with a strap of facts.


33 Poetry is an enumeration of birds, bees, babies, butterflies, bugs, bambinos, babayagas, and bipeds, beating their way up bewildering bastions.


34 Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away.


35 Poetry is the establishment of a metaphorical link between white butterfly-wings and the scraps of torn-up love-letters.


36 Poetry is the achievement of the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.


37 Poetry is a mystic, sensuous mathematics of fire, smoke-stacks, waffles, pansies, people, and purple sunsets.


38 Poetry is the capture of a picture, a song, or a flair, in a deliberate prism of words.


Carl Sandburg