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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Archival Enigma #2, The Stopless Bazillion

I continue the archive with a photo from yesterday and a poem posted on Invalid's Workshop  five years ago. Those who follow that blog will know why I am pondering the prairie or, as I like to call it, out standing in my field. Those who wish to know may click Fire-break [Earning My Keep!]. I am contemplating a chainsaw at my feet while stabilizing myself with a eucalyptus wand (those readers who, like I, fall down on uneven ground, please take note). After considerable reflection, I worked up energy to pick the saw up and carry it inside our west gate.

The photo is recent. Poem is archival.  An ongoing battle to carve a wilderness out of the jungle has accessed something primal, protecting one's home from grass-fire. A margin is mowed and eucalyptus trees, which are full of oil and go up like Roman candles, must be cleared. At 65, I am too old for this. Yet, as I slash my way south, I have been bucking branches for next winter's wood, so I am also too much of an old cheapskate to decline this recreation. It is life serving life arriving at an archival poem about the universe, which exhibits all the qualifying signs of being alive:

Seven Words In Search Of Punctuation  [Sunday, May 16, 2010]

One looks
Into it
It looks
Into one

What is
Created
Created
What is

One is
Created into
What is created
Into one

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My friend, Will, and I had a talk about it. He said, "I think either you've created a new poetic form or you've found one I never knew about (and there are probably bazillions of those). In any event your manipulation of these words makes entire sense to me, and I like the 8-6-8 words/three verse format for its playfulness and balance."

To which I replied, "Say Willie, howzabout we call this form the Bazillion --7 words arranged into 3 stopless bazills?"

And that is how the Stopless Bazillion came to be.

24 comments:

  1. The Stopless Bazillion form is better than haiku.
    I could definitely make good use of that eucalyptus wand here in the mountains, where I keep painfully falling all over myself. And I could probably use the added protection of a fairy godmother wand.

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    1. Jon, sometimes I feel like I'm in a wrestling match with reality. The wand really helps when I cant see the ground under tall grass.

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  2. There is that about this post that generates a series of "must look at that again", a series of "did I read that correctly at first glance?" For instance, at a quick first glance, I thought you were going to talk about Topless Brazilians. Once the brief spasm had passed, and I had calmed down again, I realised when I read the poem that there was more to it than initially met the eye. Intriguing!

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    1. In the 5 years since the form was invented, it would please me to learn of its adoption by topless Brazilians.

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  3. I'd fall down on even ground if I didn't carry my third leg around with me lol.
    Your poem sums up creation beautifully.

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    1. Thanks, Delores. It's wise to use a walking stick but so far I'm ok on even ground if I can see it --just can't chew gum and do it at once.

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  4. I really enjoyed your poem Geo and I wish you much luck with your hard work clearing your land and protecting your home from the grass fires ..

    Its always a pleasure to read you ...

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    1. Kind Margie, the work is neverending but I'm highly motivated. Hearing from you is a pleasure too.

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  5. I meant to add , your poem is very true!

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    1. I hope there is some truth in it. I'd be pleased to think the universe is aware of its content, creatures, of itself.

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  6. It is a fun poetic form. Playing around with the seven words to form a statement that makes sense is a good mind exercise.

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    1. Phrases can be turned upon themselves in surprising and fun ways. Sometimes they even become poems.

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  7. I never knew that eucalyptus trees were such burners in a fire. That is rather scary and I understand why you are driving yourself to clear them.

    And I don't think I've ever used eucalyptus in a written sentence in my life until now, because I had to look at your text to correct the autocorrect's wavy red line of shame.

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    1. It's true, eucalyptus and palm trees are full of oil and, unlike their bombacaceous (water-storing) relatives, will accelerate a fire like nobody's business.

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  8. I used to love the California eucalyptus trees, but I didn't know that they (and palm trees) contained oil. I've seen palm trees go up in flames like a torch in a matter of seconds.

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    1. They're both beautiful trees, and usually planted where flames are unlikely to reach them, but both tend to volunteer weedlike in fields and against fences. Sadly, and strenuously, they have to be cleared from some areas --especially now that pastures have dried early.

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  9. Dear Geo., I read your post with avid interest. First the gardener in me felt spoken to: I didn't know about the burning quality of eucalyptus (but of course it made instantly sense) - and then memory came: of a huge, huge silvery ancient (not old!) eucalyptus tree in Kew Gardens (they put sticks around him so he cant fall over hahaha: everything is relative, and your young 65 years are just a blink of the eye of time... Thinking of time put me in a dreamy mood, fueled by your beautiful poem which felt like a mantra, or like the one of Julian of Norwich, the great mystic.
    And then I shed the spell, questions in the monkey mind again: "Hello, there is a flowering plant that "burns" too!" Thought about it, and then I got it: diptam, (dictamnus albus) - their flowers produce an ethereal oil, which on hot days become a gas called Isopren, and they are able to inflame themselves (as the bush in the bible) - but in my (northern) garden that never ever happened.

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    1. Dear Brigitta, Thank you for your delightful comment. I didn't know about D. albus, but if I ever encounter a burning bush that is uttering important instructions about freeing slaves, I will try to withdraw without disturbing it. Fortunately that plant is one of the few that does not volunteer at my fence line.

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  10. We have a Husquevada- often gets crudded, even without oily trees. Perhaps if we read it more poetry, it would flow better? Seven words in three bazills- only my spellcheck doesn't like that!

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    1. Yes, but we need a strong motto: Poets of the world, unite; you have nothing to lose but spellcheck! A serious manifesto would follow.

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  11. How is eucalyptus to burn? Does it give off a smell and does the oil burn hot--like "lighter wood" found in the heart of pines? Nice balance to the poem.

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    1. I find it burns nicely after sufficient seasoning --a year for larger logs, 6 mo.s for smaller branches-- cribbed with adequate ventilation. We do clean the chimney each year. Oftener if you have any right angles in your chimney. Smells a bit like Vicks VapoRub.

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  12. The poem from the archive is masterful. It jump starts a wonderful pondering.

    Best to you in preparing the defensible space. And an extra Best to your back!

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    1. Thanks Tom. Back is fine. Brain rebels. Came in to cool off an hour ago and ended up writing about firebreak again. Will post it before I go back out.

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