The Poetry of Knowledge



The internet is an amazing and unreal reality.  Someone I had met long ago, and forgotten, contacted me, and we have been discussing many things.  Chief among my new old friend’s worries are existential matters of life, death, and the fairness of our situation, and like me, Brian is an atheist.  He noticed my changed disposition, and called me of all things, an optimist!  As a youth, I was the very most pessimistic sort, and my favorite color, and only mood, was black.  Now, I am utterly changed, and the entire world has shifted its affective valence alongside my inner redistribution of energies, which have now painted the entire of the world anew, and all of experience both inner and outer, is––interesting!  I seem to be able to find a foothold in any topic, and revel in puzzling through subjects which before, I could not have found even a second to care about.  To be guilty and preoccupied is to be dull and unhappy!


Indeed, the world is given its value, its quality, not as a function of object identification, but of the affect with which our perceptions are infused.  To follow the Neuropsychoanalytic thread as it is spun these days, I would rightly state that affect is the subject of all experience.  The “higher type” in so much as such a thing can be identified, is in my view, created through the redistribution of mental economy compared to the normal case––a freeing of repressed energies, of affect, which acts as fuel, to “libidonize,” sexualize in a nonpathogenic way, all of inner experiential presentation and the thinking process in general.  This transformation from a repressed guilty mindset, to an unrepressed mindset, can be created through psychology, and provides a clear snapshot of the proposition: The definition we give to all of “external” life experience, and to our inner world of concepts, such as Death, which we know nothing of outside of the conceptual definition we provide, is malleable.  The neocortical store, the physiological substrate of the past, mediates the affect which is summed from our past experiences (along with hardwired phylogenetic inheritance), so as to define––everything!


As methods such as psychoanalysis and my own re-polarization theory actually reconsolidate (change the long term valence of) the summed affect mediated by the neocortical store, the symbolic structure which is condensed into every perception and thought is also altered, and all of reality itself is recreated in that very instant!  In a way, I had to admit to my friend, there is a god of sorts, a creator of all things, the symbolizer of reality and hence, its creator, is a sort of little god, and this god is but one person: you!  I then referred him to my paper detailing the neuroscience of symbolic construction and the role of the memory trace as a non-hippocampally mediated substrate to encode by means of condensation (Norman, 2013), pointed out the relation of this process to our qualitatively undefined universe, and waited.   The message was not accepted.  How can I explain this to him?  The existential dilemma, is subject to reinterpretation, the lack of meaning can be redefined as freedom, and the pleasure centers engaged to recreate the meaning and value assigned to all of our lives!  We create everything, and may change the entire of the world and our feeling toward it, our lives and our death, are ours to create!  Intellectually, I believe I have been understood, but emotionally, viscerally, the message was rejected.  Perhaps I can reach down past the surface of intellect, and become wise as it was once believed, for once, poets were thought wise.  Perhaps I can use feeling, to change thought, and demonstrate the fact from within.  The most simple way to demonstrate the fact, may be to feel it.


Here is the world, as created by my old personality, the vision of a civilized man, a modern vision, one steeped in guilt and shame.  Behold the world created by this thin little god:


Today I woke, a fitful sleep, sprung to mind and torn, my dream snatched short, shunned beneath, a thorn of black forgotten; frail and thin, stretched and wan, a broken wind of chill, is born again, but spreads its ice, slipped cold through tender skin; the wind cuts hard, the wood, I knew, as frigid winter snapped, the ice is cracked, cold and sharp, the crushed earth bare beneath; the wood is green, white and sharp, her breast shocked red with pain, and soon I know, her voice and find, I can not bear her name: “Look, my son, look and know, the world is yours and now, you find all things, a hollow scab, of heat and cold cut down, and back beneath the ugly dawn, your dreams spanned gulf of fear, for deep within your turning breast, the wish for ending’s near.  So sweet the ugly sight becomes, you drowned my earth in dread, beckon look beneath your wish, the host his table spread, the finest cloth and meats were laid, for once a worthy man, did find hope in rapture stirred, of dawn’s embrace again; but feeble, sick and ugly, the dawn unhinges sin, and spills its ugly breath aloft, to stain the sky and wood, the earth is spoiled, the air twice foul and fear finds shame within.  This world once fed of milk and light, in darkness finds relief, for now the wood is as your soul, disgraced and shunned beneath.”  The trees do sway, their sickly beards, nodding looking shaking, a spitting sky with frozen tears, spent and drawn below, my withered soul, a shivered leaf, in cruel abandon blown; lost and cold, I wish again, for evening’s cloak once drawn, for light reveals, the thing again, and dreams seem now to call, but soon the chill of day finds night, again her breath but stiff, and slow my heart, my dreams of blood, in night I may forget.


Now, I will take you along the same pathway, through the same wood, and you may see, that it is we who create this thing:



The Gratitude Song


Oh how early I did climb

To find crushed winter branches

And crumpled silence,

… in still air

Double dry and snapped bright in Dawn’s chill.

Early did I find feet to flee the shadows

Even before they had begun their lazy stretch

My breath did gulp at the night

And drink its purple black into my sneaking early steps

Crushed under Night’s last sip

Of lonely moonlight.


As the shadows stretched downward

I did ascend to meet you,

To find you here in this place

This shimmering ice shawl of climbing pearls

Jeweled in flecked sunlight, caught purple and white

Rose sparks of Sun’s blood and treasures

Caught shimmering

Caught unaware and silent

A thousand winking vanishing eyes of prismed frost

Sparkle to carpet the horizon

Cast with pointed liquid jewels

Silent and vanishing

Catching the spark and gone into the whole

Reaching each crystal drop into the light

Splintering it alive

A shard of Dawn in iced gemlight.


Oh my friend

How I knew I must find you here!

Here where our teeth have found their mirrored tears

Spilt starlight once bound fast to black

Now outpouring as the joy it has ruined

Spent pain but happiness spilt

Now awash to warm all fragile iced places

And bring my heart of gladness to the cut chill

Of frigid Dawn

To return Life unto herself,

Warm for cold,

So do I love her!



You too know our secret

How dearly we have bled into the black Earth

Only now to know what might be nourished in our fisted pain

Now unbound and spent to gladness

Poured into the jeweled horizon

Spilt opal, and ruby treasure is our pain

Once unbound from black

Again, silver streams flowing to fill our meadows

A rippled glaze of clear light spattered in silver sun

As jewels outpoured to nourish the blossoming Earth

So is the rain of our pain unbound

Its shuddering trapped places

Freely pouring upward in silver streams of rain

Spilt into Heaven

The clouds nourished and full

Now unbound in glad overflowing.


Oh what happiness I return unto you, Oh Life!

Under no shadow are you cast

But bliss and Death alone are thee!

Into your sky I pour my treasure

Into the ice arch of Dawn

I climb to find you.


As noon did burn

So did I laugh to pull myself

Up closer to the burning coal

So did I laugh at the Sun with you

For we must laugh at our weary step

And step above it!

So did I climb through noon burnt white

With sheets of staggered heat

In laughter did I let them lavish me!

Spend their weary heat upon my glad spirit

So chill and filled with mocking iced air

Snapped blue and splintered

Chipped light and shining air

Cracked silver blue, from the prismed glass lid of the world.


So did I climb to find you!

So grateful am I to know of this place

For surely I must find you here.

We must celebrate!

So did I climb higher and faster to find you

Over my pain and past the hungry shadows

Into the purest silver air

Clear and iced with blue ether.


At last I see you, my friend!

Ah!… For I have found you!

Here, where I knew I must

In the purest Ice air

With silver wells of iced light, and prismed frost

Cut blue wells and sparked water, warmed by firelight

A melted jewel, an impossible brightness

Poured into form.


Here at last I have found you

Here where we belong––

Over all valleys, pressed crisp and bright

Against the arched blue lid of Heaven…

Oh how long I have climbed, and waited, for this moment

Waited, for this time, to find this place.

Oh how I have longed to see these things

With another, another worthy… one who knows.


Oh Life, in gratitude do I come to you

As the Day does bleed her warm bright happiness

Into the light starved Sky

Hungrily licking up her slender gift of promise

So have I drunk you in, Oh Life

So gracious and severe

As blood and milk in my saucer

So did I lick you into my soul

So did you purr and glow, scratch and turn within me

Oh Life, how I drank of you!

As a fool drinks, did I consume you

Staggering and stammering as a fool

I gorged upon every outstretched shadow

And knew your sour, and did sicken to know it

So spit you out and cursed you.

But how red and stuttering, silly and ruined

A comic and a spot of sublime madness to spit you out––

For every well is not for every spirit!


Oh how you teased me, Oh life

So gracious and glad am I to know you now

In streams of silver and upturned shadows of spilt light

Splinters of Sun and chill catch my chest and tickle me

And I drink you in

Know the spent Sun upon my lost gratitude, as you,

a gratitude spilled out unknowing of any eye

Or who has been spilt into light, you or I,

So as Life do I repay you

To give the Song up into the air and shine its notes

Hidden in forgotten splendor

Dripping with Sun and Song

A prism’s misted brush outstretched

An arch of color swept across Heaven,


From nowhere …

… to nowhere.



––Rich Norman


This work is the sole property of the author, Rich Norman © 2011, 2013.