The life of metaphor.

met/a •phora n. a figure of speech containing an implied comparison, in which a word or phrase ordinarily and primarily used of one thing is applied to another.

In This Craft of Verse chapter two, Jorge Luis Borges cites the Argentine poet Lugones as saying, “every word is a dead metaphor.” According to Bruges this appeared in the forward to Lunario Sentimental, an eclectic, and evidently scandalous in its time, “volume of poetry, short stories, and plays by Leopoldo Lugones (1874-1938) that revolve around the theme of the moon.”

There is much to find about Lugones, and what Borges writes about his work, but I want to look at the statement, which appears in the chapter Metaphor, in This Craft of Verse. I think the chapter and this statement is inspiring.

Think of it, abstractly speaking, every word is, in a sense, originally a metaphor. Something to consider. (Borges says “consider” originally meaning “being with the stars,” “making a horoscope.”) That we have to forget that words were metaphors, is one of an imaginative or creative repositioning, that art is all about. This is what struck me, what I think is so interesting about Brushstrokes and glances by Djelloul Marbrook.

Take for example imagining the beginning of language, wherever it may have been, very early man painting on cave walls, then vocalizing their experience, describing things by implied comparison. For me, the nature of reading poetry, the experience conjures up realizations, emotions, evokes spirit. When read or recited aloud some would say words become spirit. It is why yogic knowledge or teaching was and is spoken, whispered, if you will, into the devotees ear.

But I don’t want to get side tracked by Vedas, actually an early form of poetry, just as Rap has it’s roots in slave poetry and song. We must accept verse as something ancient and valuable, nothing new. Art and poetry together have a history and place in the exchange of ideas.

The abstract is something to keep in mind when contemplating the origins of words and metaphor, which, with this statement by Lugones, hit me as a desirable escape from the mundane, and an example of the wonderful power of reading, to inspire. Even as a foundation for other art forms such as painting, metaphor is rich, especially when it is fresh and stimulating (in 1909 Lugones “wrote that he thought poets were always using the same metaphors. . .”) so readers of poetry enjoy finding writers that stimulate the mind with new and interesting language.

I know I sound like I am blowing my own horn here, but in fact I am taking another opportunity to mention why I like Djelloul Marbrook’s writing, and why I published his book Brushstrokes and glances. His is a fresh new voice. And I won’t go on and on trying to describe it, but please, if you don’t find enough about it on our website, visit Djelloul’s blog.

You can now purchase our books directly at our web site.

Let me also say how grateful I am for the wonderfully art embellished review by Tom Holmes on The Line Break.


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