Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Devil's Engine, No. 3

If you had to pick a body part, and make that body part the storehouse for all of your poetic instincts, which part would you choose and why?

Amanda Jernigan

My hair. As a reminder that my poetic instincts are easily lost; that their loss, if painful to my sense of self is not (or not immediately) fatal; and that, given time, I may grow them back again.

This assertion will call to mind Samson and Delilah, of course -- but the mythological analogy is not, in my case, apt. When I've lost my poetic instincts, it has never been to some vile seducer, but rather to myself. (Perhaps the self is a vile seducer.)

On the other hand, there are times when it seems to me appropriate to cut one's hair, to sacrifice one's poetic instincts: perhaps in love; perhaps in mourning. (And sometimes it is precisely one's poetic instincts that lead one to cut one's hair.)

Ultimately, however, I suspect the literary predecessor I had in mind was not Samson but Rapunzel.

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