A Degree Of Intensity Poem by Daniel Brick

A Degree Of Intensity

Rating: 4.9

When a thing appears as a degree of intensity, we have nothing else
than the existence of the thing in a world.
Alain Badiou
Contemporary philosopher

Time gripped me first, held me
tightly, then tumbled me
across Space. Time was just
a smoky haze, circulating
around everything. Space was
a viscous vortex, spinning
in a tight circle, like a mountain
drilling itself into a planet.
Suddenly, the spinning stopped,
and Space stretched out, stretched
before me, behind me, above and below
me... And Time was everywhere

For ages I was part of every-
thing. My face was morning light.
My eyes were the last stars to fade,
and the first to ignite. My torso
was a hill thrust against the bank
of a swift-flowing river. My brain
was the motion of river currents.
My sex, still a mystery to me, was
the sap rushing up the tree trunk,
along the branches, and permeating
the leaves which stiffen in green health.
My heart was the growth of sweet flowers.

But how these things became
me is a story hidden from me.
I dimly recall my soul being
placed near my heart. The weight
of it made me stumble. I fell
into black loam. I recovered
my strength, heaved myself up,
and stood poised and tall. I've
grown accustomed to that soul-
weight. Gradually, I sensed
the luster it spread through
my body... It is not a brightness

like day. It is nothing like a sun-
rise flooding a deep valley. It is
the brightest shadow, it is the dark-
est light... My soul led me
to this world made for me. and I
for it. My walks are frequent now.
I traipse across my world and enter
other worlds. I have met and claimed
six others as my friends. We talk
for hours as the sun slants toward
its night realm. I stay the night
in my friends' world. We never

argue, we love and laugh together.
But can it be some peril stalks us?
As I was walking along my familiar
path, I suddenly felt dizzy and pitched
forward. Rocks smashed my head. For
an hour I was without awareness. It was
not like sleep. It was a blankness.
When I awoke, I carried within
my soul fear of that place. It was
terrifying to be NOTHING again...
If I sleep, truly sleep, will I
dream the whole of it again?

Friday, December 26, 2014
Topic(s) of this poem: Philosophy
When a thing appears as a degree of intensity, we have nothing else than the existence of the thing in a world.
Alain Badiou
Contemporary Philosopher

This quotation is from an essay called AN AGE OF POETS. In the impersonal style of philosophical writing it is written on a high level of abstraction. Professor Badiou never describes the thing itself. Is it an animal, a person, an object - all of the above, potentially? I decided to write my own version of it in poetic speech to parallel his philosophical speech. I wonder if he would have as much trouble wrapping his mind around my poem as I do his abstract argument? One thing I noticed is telling. At the end of his essay, he offers an interpretatio of one of my favorite Wallace Stevens poems that I considered misguided at best. The poem in question was one of Stevens's last, THE FINAL SOLILOQUY OF THE INTERIOR PARAMOUR. He gives it a limited political exegesis. The recently deceased poet MARK STRAND loved that poem, and said what the Psalm THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD means to many people, this poem means to him. THAT is a poet's exegesis.
Fabrizio Frosini 29 December 2014

Dear Daniel, I've read and re-read your poem A DEGREE OF INTENSITY. I like it, as I've already told you, but I feel that I have to send you a note of critique, from a positive point of view. I think that you are a bit too detailed in your descriptions. A poetical composition has to create intimate emotions, deep feelings that speak to a reader's soul with their own inner musicality. With too detailed descriptions, musicality can get lost. Your poem is a very good work, but it lays between a Poetical composition and an Essay on the philosophical roots of Poetry & Life. You are a bright essayist from this point of view. But for sure you can create beautiful MUSIC with your verses, only you have to forget your TEACHER-SIDE (you've taught Creative Composition for many years, haven't you?) and let the POET who is inside you to create... And YOU are the Poet who wrote these beautiful verses ***: [..] no longer winged things but just dots, like crooked ellipses, sinking into the depths of heavy paper, whatever message they were spelling by their flight, smudged, then erased, lost in whiteness. [*** from your poem: Walking Through Autumn] P.S.: You give many bright insights to lots of people here (at PH) . I love reading your thoughtful, elegant & smart commentaries (not only the ones you have written to me, but also many others you have written here, at PH) . I told you that when I got your messages, I thought about Ezra Pound (al miglior fabbro - to the better craftsman- : you surely remember that The Waste Land was dedicated by T.S. Eliot, to Pound) . He helped discover the work of great writers - not only Eliot, but also James Joyce, Hemingway and others.. A shame that he then embraced fascism in Italy and expressed support for Adolf Hitler.. What a pity...! ! But he did so much for Literature and Poetry in particular. And his The Pisan Cantos is an interesting work for sure. Don't you think so? With friendship. Fabrizio

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Simone Inez Harriman 24 October 2015

Daniel, I am in awe of your talent. This poem held me captured from the first line to the last. I came back to it again today because in a way it haunted me. Daniel you are amazing.

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Kumarmani Mahakul 28 December 2014

I came across this sentence I was alerted. The philosophical mind understood every beat of speaking and shined through memory. Beautifully crafted and drafted poem definitely shared on. Nice job.

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Nosheen Irfan 25 March 2016

From Being to Nothingness, this poem captures it all. You have wonderfully explored the question of existence that is probably the biggest mystery of the world. We have an acute consciousness of ourselves n our surroundings which you have so beautifully mingled...my face was morning light...my eyes were the last stars to fade...my heart was the growth of sweet flowers. We are connected to this world physically n spiritually and to lose awareness of it all is a terrifying thought. A great philosophical work that has layers of meanings.

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Daniel Brick 25 March 2016

Your reaction confirmed what I was trying to do through this poem, write in poetic language a philosophical of our origins - that mystery of Nothing becoming Something, and the origin of consciousness.And you appappreciate my favorite part in which the early human is still embedded in nature.

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Akhtar Jawad 14 April 2018

The poem touches the heart and the poet's note touches the brain.

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M Asim Nehal 23 August 2016

We all came from nothingness and moving towards nothingness in between we try to do somethings that we think will give some recognition in this world but in the end when we realise that it is NOTHINGNESS that will prevail we leave everything as is, a thought provoking poem indeed, Loved it, thanks for sharing.10+++

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Bharati Nayak 11 August 2016

Wow- -This poem goes to my favorite list .

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Bharati Nayak 11 August 2016

The poem as if takes me through this voyage of creation- - Life and and death. As per Hindu philosophy our soul (Atma) is part of BIGGER SOUL(Param Atma} Atma takes creation from Param Atma and becomes Life and always in the process to return and merge with Param Atma.In Hindu scripture.Bhagawat Gita it is described how Lord Sri Krishna shows Arjuna His Viswa Rupa(Cosmic Image}.How Lord Is the force of all creation and all destruction... Your poem is a great write with deep philosophical insight.There are some beautiful stanza that hold my breath.

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Sally Plumb Plumb 10 May 2016

Intriguing piece of English. Much enjoyed.

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