To quote a writer I'm very fond of
e thing you will have noticed while doing this exercise is that it is predicated on a highly truncated instant. And now and now and now and now, but if we stretch out that instant we switch from a fixed view, a snapshot, to moving footage. Another way of figuring is to say we move from substance to process, or from noun to verb. We start to gain awareness of sequence and sequence as cause and effect chains.
So let’s say, for example, blackbird alights on branch, water droplets cascade from oscillating branch.
Or the noise of a helicopter might scare the pigeons from their perches. Or, if we switch the focus to our own selves, a we will a little later, we might catch a glance of what we take to be disapproval on another person’s face, and feel ourselves shrink in response and become inhibited or defensive.
How we are tweaked and pinched and pulled and shaped by the responses we receive and by the responses we anticipate receiving. Locked into these teaching machines, something within us very, very alert to praise and scolding. The basic compass of pleasure and pain.
At one end of the spectrum you have time as a discontinuous, fractured series of isolated sherds, in which effect is severed from cause, at the other you have an unbroken, breathing continuum, connected, part to part.
It’s worth thinking about how this distinction operates in writing and in the ways we model our reality, to think of ruptures and continuities, peaks and plateaus, flows and blockages. To think of the time-spans we are describing and to consider the time-spans our poems take place in.