If it’s greek to me—Khronos refers to quantitative, sequential time; Kairos refers to an opportune moment, having a qualitative nature.
The idea that a writer writes one long poem is tempting to apply to other endeavors. Imagine one long painting or one long symphony.
If this idea stirs up contemplating time as nonlinear in an energetic mind, that the Earth turns and rotates around the sun, almost as if in the same location once removed, then might a person be entering philosophical thresholds of thought? Imagining time as a physical gift of sun and shadow, after humans thought the sun rotated around the Earth, the sun dial is placed in an appropriate place. Perhaps cloudy days encouraged inventions like the hour glass, an excellent example of the movement of a substance to measure time.
From here one can go further with large or minute examples of time as movement, such as the human eye moving over the pages of a book or a series of images. Perhaps time has come down to the division of a moment, as dots make up a line, movement of the works of a clock divide minutes by seconds or to whatever digital devices divide, we accept that time is relatively accurate, given that so much depends on the setting of clocks and datelines (International Date Line), imagined lines (longitude) on the Earth that the light of the sun seems to cross as the Earth rotates.
How does time apply to memory? Any given stimulus can bring up a memory. That memory branches out into others. Memories are not often chronologic. What we remember relates to subjects and place rather than time. There may be an initial time a certain memory places us but then a character, subject, or a significant event, takes us off into another time. Especially with a season like spring or summer, when years of seasons can blend together so that years overlap and memories rise based on a hub, perhaps an object, like an old ice box, a beach, a shower, clouds in a sky, and memories branch out from there.
So it is with poetry. One poem’s lines can span decades, yet time is subordinate to the ideas of the poem. John Corbett says, “A poem can be oblique and still be absolutely precise.” He says, “I read poetry the way I listen to improvised music. It’s not so important to interpret an improvisation as it is to experience it.”
To some, poetry seems a perfectly natural form, invented while walking for example, to express any number of emotions one experiences triggered by a significant event or after a long reflection on circumstances leading to particular moment or place.
Poetry and improvised music share certain lyric attributes. Emotion, passion, rhapsody, intuition, and other subjective inferences.
Borges called poetry a mongrel. One can conjure his meaning. Perhaps he meant indefinable. Because poetry can support many subtle nuances through language in ways other than does prose, it can seem to be secondary for a reader that has not regarded language possessing another rhythm, without linear configuration, or more than one dimension. In truth poetry may predate prose but this is not important to debate as much as it is to accept poetry as existing prior to Classical Greek as classical in its significance for early cultures.
To draw one conclusion, without limitation, poetry and music share qualities. When perhaps the first poems were songs, as Vedic knowledge was originally spoken, voice being considered a form of spirit, then the character of a voice is fundamentally musical or lyrical. How curious that these essential expressions, music and poetry, can be both ancient and modern. By understanding them we enter the less predictive, less logical movement of time.
When we accept language and music as abstract primal expressions, that time can be theoretical relative to their creation, perhaps we enter a realm of creativity that needs no paraphrasing.