05 April 2010

Ethereality

Preparing for our recent Robert Frost Dinner (26 March was his birthday), I found the following Frost poem in my 1967 anthology, a gift from my mother. Though written back at about the time I was born, this poem is a whimsical meditation that is just as germane to our current infatuation with information technologies and consumption of ethereal media such as music and cinema. Frost clearly dreams of being free of his physical body, the better to compose abstract verse. But he likens that state of freedom from the flesh to "evolution's opposite extreme", the jellyfish.

I like his use of the word "ethereal." To me it signifies something that is distinct from material reality; something in the realm of ideas, concepts, explanations, models of reality; that is, information. There's nothing supernatural about this meaning of ethereal. But it's a part of reality that is unique to living things with DNA that takes notes, and humans with their own kinds of notes, including poetry.


Etherealizing

A theory if you hold it hard enough
And long enough gets rated as a creed:
Such as that flesh is something we can slough
So that the mind can be entirely freed.

Then when the arms and legs have atrophied,
And brain is all that's left of mortal stuff,
We can lie on the beach with the seaweed
And take our daily tide baths smooth and rough.

There once we lay as blobs of jellyfish
At evolution's opposite extreme.
But now as blobs of brain we'll lie and dream,
With only one vestigial creature wish:

Oh, may the tide be soon enough at high
To keep our abstract verse from being dry!

5 comments:

Cowtown Pattie said...

I thought I had read most of Frost's works...perhaps I had just forgotten this one.

Thanks!

啟俊淳達詩涵 said...
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Tom Moore said...

@Pattie: This is pretty obscure one. The only place I've seen it is in this book anthology I have. Searching the web produces nothing about it, which is the definition of obscure!

MichellSommerville0202 said...
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逸凡逸凡 said...
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