Only A Few Days Bloomed

Staff, Marika
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
The task of the writer is to make with language a sketch of the human experience. But unlike painting a portrait, for instance, or even telling a scene, the poet often spends her time with the details of ideas and feelings-those which are not understood through physical senses. And this is arguably quite complicated and awkward. Sometimes it is impossible. How exactly does one translate wordless sensations into language? Perhaps it is never done entirely. Still, the poet will look doggedly for a way. As in the Robert Hass excerpt above, a man desires the right language to express the triumph of an experience, but he does not yet know which words to use. There is a picture in his mind and so he starts there, thinking perhaps it will lead him toward a true expression: "lilacs against white houses." And this is a good beginning. Visual descriptions (or those of taste, touch, smell, and sound) introduce familiar material conditions, and often feelings and sensations are keenly connected to such materials.
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