Poets, thieves and liars (Part I)

“It is the poets whom the erring follow:  Seest thou not how they rove distraught in every valley? And that they say that which they do not?” The Koran, Sura XXVI, The Poets

Mohammed was just jealous. He was upset because his insane ramblings had to compete against other insane ramblings in poetry contests; contests he outlawed once Islam had established itself by force of faith and arms. He turned the poetry slam into a poetry slash and burn. If you are the only liar in town, it is easier to pass off what you are saying as the truth. The trouble arises when you have competing lies, where is the truth to be found then?

This notion that poets are liars stems from the very heart of all poetry: the metaphor, saying that A is B, when this is manifestly not the case:” It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.” Well, um, no, Juliet is not the sun, but as any liar will tell you, there is no sense in the soft sell, no place in real poetry for likes and as-ifs. It is a case of go big or stay at home.

Why the appeal of the lie? Where does the power of the metaphor originate? Let’s deal with the second question first, and the answer to that question has been most thoroughly addressed by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson in Metaphors We Live By, in which they state: “We have found, on the contrary, that metaphor is pervasive in everyday life, not just in language but in thought and action. Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature.” In other words, there can be no thoughtful action without metaphor, in truth, no interaction with the world, or each other, without the simple lie of A is B, where this is manifestly not true.

More about poets, thieves and liars here, peace out.


2 thoughts on “Poets, thieves and liars (Part I)

  1. Pingback: Poets, thieves and liars (Part II) | tankawanka

  2. Pingback: Poets, thieves and liars (Part III) | tankawanka

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s