Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” So, let’s examine it together. In Etymology, I’ll be presenting a word each week with its generally accepted definition and riffing on this word as a way to get us to talk about life together. This is meant to be a discussion based article, with emphasis on “together.” In one sense, these articles will be written and complete when they are published, but they will not be whole without your input. All of us could use better words to describe our lives. So, let’s go through life together in words. Helping each other and improving together and always remembering to breathe.
By Brianne Leith
As my life seems to flow seamlessly from one thing to another, from one event to another, from one day to the next, I am reminded of poetry. Life has its poetic moments; dare I say, Life is poetry. Life is not always flowery and rhyming, but neither is poetry. Some of the best poems are disgustingly real, dark, gritty and painful and in prose form without a sense of rhyming at all. They are reality beautified, and complicatedly simplified to only a few words. These small amount of lines can encapsulate a myriad of emotions, events, and sights that are shared amongst almost every person. Poetry bonds humans through their differences by showing the common link through a well-worded phrase. Though poetry is based on life through poets’ eyes, poetry is not life.
Life is Poetry.
Life is Poetic.
My life of poetry is illustrating a poetic device called enjambment. Though this word is typically only used in classrooms of students banging their heads against the desks, because they have to find the deeper meaning in the line, “We cut across the common with the coffin,” (taken from my Eighth Grade English class) I think it easily illustrates life in general.
Enjambment is defined as the running on of the thought from one line, couplet, or stanza to the next without a syntactical break. In prosody, it is the continuation of the sense of a phrase beyond the end of a line of verse. T.S. Eliot used enjambment in the opening lines of his poem The Waste Land:
April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
Enjambment evokes a sense of connection, flowing together with an urgency and forced quickening of pace.
Recently, enjambment has become my life. Everything is connected, flowing together with a sense of forced urgency. Days are melding together. There is no difference in my mind from one day to the next. Always something to do from one moment to another. It is enjoyable and a pure delight when unrelated activities overlap and give new meaning to each other. When taken alone it is just one phrase, one bit: working at Vivo!. When life becomes enjambed it becomes:
Working at Vivo! I
Met an artist who I now want to
Write an article on, directly from work
Drove up to Baltimore to see
a band at the 8×10 with a
Handsome bass player who
Misses me when I am not
Enjambment can be fast and stressful when put into our lives, but it also can make things colorful and a sort of more completed thought. A finished thought.
“Let us now celebrate the literary allusion. Let us now celebrate the trope and willful enjambment. Let us now celebrate the assonance and alliteration of all of it. Let us now celebrate the sound of our own voices.”