‘Could a rule be given from without, poetry would cease to be poetry, and sink into a mechanical art. It would be μóρφωσις, not ποίησις. The rules of the IMAGINATION are themselves the very powers of growth and production. The words to which they are reducible, present only the outlines and external appearance of the fruit. A deceptive counterfeit of the superficial form and colours may be elaborated; but the marble peach feels cold and heavy, and children only put it to their mouths.’ [Coleridge, Biographia ch. 18]

‘ποίησις’ (poiēsis) means ‘a making, a creation, a production’ and is used of poetry in Aristotle and Plato. ‘μóρφωσις’ (morphōsis) in essence means the same thing: ‘a shaping, a bringing into shape.’ But Coleridge has in mind the New Testament use of the word as ‘semblance’ or ‘outward appearance’, which the KJV translates as ‘form’: ‘An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form [μóρφωσις] of knowledge and of the truth in the law’ [Romans 2:20]; ‘Having a form [μóρφωσις] of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away’ [2 Timothy 3:5]. I trust that's clear.

There is much more on Coleridge at my other, Coleridgean blog.

Monday, 2 December 2019

The Tweet Of My Enemy Has Been Ratioed



[In memoriam Clive James]


The tweet of my enemy has been ratioed
And it's a sight for sore eyes.
A vast disproportion has opened up
Between his likes and retweets, and his hostile replies:
A smallish number sits in his tweet's bottom-right-hand corner,
And in the bottom left two digits followed by a ‘k’.
People are informing my enemy that his opinions on women in popular cultural texts
Are not OK.
One scrolls through reflecting on life's vanities,
Pausing to relish all his doublings-down and linkings-through
His earnest pseudo-logic and not-all-menning
His thesis concerning the fundamental wrongness of a lady Doctor Who
The many reasons why female superhero costumery must be more revealing than male
How Captain Marvel should smile more
Why the Ghostbusters reboot was such an epic fail.
How a girl's is the wrong star war.


My enemy's online experience has become a battlefield
And I am crowing.
What used to be a pleasant meadow has become a nuclear warzone
Metaphorical craters still glowing.
What avails him now his flouncing-off?
His insistance that he is leaving now, and will not be back, and it's our loss
When we all know he'll be tweeting again by Thursday
A tosser arguing the toss?
I feel no sympathy for my enemy:
If you can't stand the heat stay out of the kitchen.
He's brought it all on himself with his posturing online persona, blended
Of equal parts Milo Yiannopoulos and Peter Hitchen.


My daily scrolls through Twitter, though,
Have become distressing.
It used to be fun. I used to enjoy it.
But now I honestly don't know why I spend so much time and energy on an experience so depressing.
This site where everyone is so unpleasant and angry and judgmental all the time.
This hellscape, this mire, this unremitting shitshow.
This root-canal of the spirit, these men and women ungentle.
This everlasting no.
I should quit it, leave the spoils to my equally miserable enemy, I really should.
Draw my online draughts from quite another fount—
It would result in an immediate and palpable benefit to my mental health!
Still. I won't.




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