Strength in Solitude

Fantasy novels are my favorite kind of books, and they are a rich source for poetry that reminds us of the magic in the world. This one is from The Once and Future King, by T. H. White.

When we get to an oak
which was struck by lightning in the year of the great storm,
we shall meet at a rendezvous there.
Afterward we shall have to move like shadows.
We can't come nearer.
From that moment you will have to go alone.

In the days of flint,
before iron was ever invented,
The uncomfortable feeling.
But you,
with an iron knife-blade hidden close to your hands,
will be safe,
so long as you do not let go of it.
All you will have to do
is walk the last distance.

A Lost World

Most of the blackout poems I've made have been from random books I've stumbled upon, but from the moment I first heard about blackout poetry, I knew I wanted to make one from this exact passage.

Complex interactions,
behavior is a kind of crystallization, too.
All the order in the natural world—
changes can occur very quickly.
Dangerous development
from hunting to farming to cities to cyberspace.
The end of innovation.
The whole world wired together is mass death;
a thousand birds on an ocean island,
three people on a committee—
nothing happens.
Every place the same,
a McDonald's on one corner,
a Benneton on another,
a Gap across the street.
Differences vanish;
less of everything except the top ten.
Species diversity,
intellectual diversity,
disappearing faster than trees.
Everything will stop dead in its tracks.

Blackout Poetry

A blackout poem is created when the poet uses a marker to redact text from a book or newspaper, leaving carefully selected words that form the poem.

I first learned about blackout poetry several years ago when my department at work had a blackout poetry contest and I had so much fun creating my submissions.

Here's the poem that won.

I entered the labyrinth of cubicles,
racked my brains at a computer monitor
to sell all manner of useless trash.
Was it this that had broken me?
That smashed me to smithereens
past all hope of rescue?

Inside a computer
I searched
in order to illuminate my condition.
the ancient world victims of a tragic fate,
I was attacked by mechanisms
that sought to annihilate me.
The digital world is cruel.
In my despair of a possible life,
I have yearned to be more.