a word, any word

every silence is a sea
every sound a seed
a word, any word
is a semantic sea of phonetic seeds
consciousness, for example,
is a sea: misty, mystic, mysterious
yet, you see, its semantic unfinity
is quite simply made of four finite seeds:
con, not pro but artifice
she, not he but we
us, not them and now
ness, not ism, just ness

I took the license to modify the exercise a bit, to use phonetic units of my chosen word (which were incidentally 4: con/she/us/ness), and the associated binary (semantic) opposites (pro/he/them/ism) as class-text inputs (8 in all; & I replaced ‘he’ with ‘we’ ;)) rather than the key words or lines of the poem.

The result is that the image is a quasi-binary display-mechanism for syllables of the word upon which the poem was written, and its somewhat-antonym. This way the image allows the word (a semantic unit) to emerge only within the consciousness of the viewer, which seemed a necessary subtlety to work with a word like ‘consciousness’, and avoid being pedantic about it.

Also, I found that in multiple iterations, the phonetic units seemingly construct and dismantle various other, almost plausible words. And this teases me to wonder what ‘them-us-ism’ or ‘we-pro-she-ness’ might even mean. In some senses, I see twin poems here: the written and the generated.

2 responses to “a word, any word”

  1. I’m so glad you pursued this idea. The scarf works very elegantly, with meaning quite literally “folded” into its creases… Nice!

  2. Kamya Ramachandran Avatar
    Kamya Ramachandran

    Clever exploration Kiran! The seamlessness with which the words flash across your screen communicates to me that confusion, questioning about these discrete parcels that mean a lot but mean nothing all at the same time!

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