Thursday, September 23, 2004

The Mysteries of Sense

Robert Frost explaining that the sound of sense is more than meaning but the mystery of voice:
I say you cant read a single good sentence with the salt in it unless you have previously heard it spoken. Neither can you with the help of all the characters and diacritical marks pronounce a single word unless you have previously heard it actually pronounced. Words exist in the mouth not in books. You can't fix them and you dont want to fix them. You want them to adapt their sounds to persons and places and times. You want them to change and be different.
The same thing with the sense of sight. When I was on that ledge on Gorham Mt. and looking out at the several lobster boats working their traps, I noticed that each would circle around the buoy, creating this circle of calm that lasted quite a while in an otherwise ruffled sea.
The Great Lobster Boat Mystery

As a lobster boat approaches near
the buoy marking where its trap is sunk,
it circles full, creating there a calm
that seems to carry on a larger chunk
of time than I had thought some likelihood
in such a busy sea. I understood

the physics following the waves and moon,
the ripples of achievement by the wind,
and even radiance of angled sun,
but why that wake could stay so disciplined
to be so calm so long eluded me.
It’s such a cool peculiarity.
But maybe you had to be there.

2 comments:

Stuart Greenhouse said...

Part of the mystery explained (though not demystified): The stillness in a boat's wake is due to the small amount of oil leaked from the engine. See, the bigger ripples all start off as little ripples, which start off as tiny ripples picked off the surface by the wind and increased; but if there's even a small amount of oil on the water's surface, it weights down those little ripples so they never appear; and if a boat is doing circles, there will be a concentration of ripple-suppressing oil in that area. At least, that's as I remember it from a book on waves I read once.

Greg said...

Ahhh! The old pouring oil on troubled waters trick. Of course! And I bet these lobster boats are definitely leaky in that department. Thanks for the enlightenmnet. Hmmm, maybe I'm going to need a part 2 now.