Thursday, November 1, 2012

A poem like and unlike a prayer

What, then, is the difference between a poem and a prayer? It depends on what is meant by prayer. There is prayer and prayer (pace Gertrude Stein). If it’s the sort of prayer that is a kind of plea bargain and assumes an auditor who is capable of answering the prayer, or the pleader wants something material to ensue as a result, then it is nothing like a poem. But insofar as the poet must relinquish a certain kind of control, and attain a kind of self-forgetfulness; must, as the ancients had it, call in the Goddess, the Muse, the power of the imagination - that which must be invited and cannot be commanded - in that sense, in which prayer involves a humbling and earnest entreaty for vision, and creative deepening of perception toward a kind of ease of being, then ok, the difference begins to fade.

- Eleanor Wilner


  1. We are at the mercy of our muses. They do not serve us. We serve them as conduits.I would not refer to this as prayer but incantation. Writers spell for a living. The magic is the cyclical nature of the process. A symbol becomes a letter with a sound. That becomes a word with a meaning. That meaning is then expressed in many words called sentences. Those sentences create a motif. That motif has an idea often expressed in an image. That image becomes iconoclastic a symbol of the text. This is the life cycle of a metaphor. The brood of muses.

  2. I do not think that should be sought difference because what is material for a prayer or a poem? Any writing poetry is unreachable search and thrill the soul. Here's a proof.