Verbal Air

We are such paradoxical creatures. I was talking to someone I have known for years who was saying, "I don't like X; I never have," when just last year, she said, "I long to X, but my life doesn't let me." Who does not see themselves between these binaries: feisty but frail; dour but indolent; extravagant yet unfussy. It may be helpful to think in more organic terms, "more like a flower blooming than an airplane leaving a gate," as Toelken writes in a different context.
There are times the mind requires air, as G. K. Chesterton suggests, far more than (linear) argument. It may be that the argument is that heavy mantle that restrains one from thought.
"Poetry is sane because it floats easily in an infinite sea; reason seeks to cross the infinite sea, and so make it finite," Chesterton writes. Poetry accomodates the figure of speech that is the paradox. It also works at the level of the generalisation: a person is no longer bound to to their bones but becomes the woman or the lover or at least observer. Insofar as the Lover, Observer, etc, are symbolic, poetic freedom of thought may also be depicted visually.
It is easiest to think of poetry this way because poetry, being philosophical, manifests what might otherwise remain hidden. Like paradox. Or the elusive stag called "meaning," which are those symbols that become ever more fruitful on their being revisited. It is noted that there are shapes, such as the gammadion, that are considered fruitful by more than one culture.
The decorative conventions in Byzantine art are also symbolic, writes Gervase Mathew in Byzantine Aesthetics. "Much that was most vital in Byzantine art came into being through the effort to apprehend and to convey a hidden meaning." Beauty is apprehended through the senses of the Mind, not just mathematically harmonious sense perception. "The body is immediately apparent to the senses; the soul and mind are to be discerned through contemplation." The mosaic stars in the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia may represent the gems man may become if he shines to consummation. Does one see the stars to shine so bright unless one already possesses the sympathy needed to wish to imitate the heavens? Revisit the star.
"Human hands are only the means of creation" - I add, of the representation of the star. "They too belong to the world of matter, of aisthetos, though like human eyes as long as they are alive they are matter shot through with Mind; the implements they use - pigments, or mosaic tesselae, or polished marble - are purely material." Hidden meaning. Mind behind matter. Idea behind mind.
One may think of the Zen Buddhist Enso: mind let free to let the universe through to the hand that paints, though it departs from the Byzantine and classical to asymmetry with its different message of the human component in the world and the terrestrial experience. It points beyond itself, however, to transcendence to a simpler life. We want space around us. Space to breathe. This should be poetry. Those wings without wings.



Brushes: 1, 2.
Click image to enlarge.

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