Promp: Anna @ dVerse Poet Pub asked us to write Experimental Poetry. One of her suggestions was: “Write something secret and something shared. Write both things using veiled and then direct language. Compose a poem from both points of view.”
The above poem is my shared “public” poem. It is written in a new form I experimentally created which I will call a Kabbalic Homonym . This Public Poem contains a secret “hidden” poem. Of course the Public Poem has its own meaning, but the Hidden Poem has a deeper meaning. However, to decode the hidden poem’s secret meaning you must be initiated into the secret. But, before I initiate you, go ahead, try and figure it out by yourself. If you give up, to become initiated, you must click the ‘continue reading‘ link below to learn about the Kabbalic Homonym!
Oh, but before you do that, you should only need one footnote to help you understand this Public Poem: my daughter suffers from a chronic blood disorder called “ITP” — here is a photo of her we snapped tonight.
When sacred texts–religious, political or cultural– frustrate the desires of aspiring reformers, they can either reject those holy texts in whole or take the easier route and create a new hermeneutic to do their bidding. There are many hermeneutic options: some may suggest literal vs. non-literal schemes; some may introduce their own special symbolism; some may offer a decoding method which reveals a deep, hidden, ‘true’ meaning of the sacred text.
Reformer using this later hermeneutic method only reveal the decoding secret to their initiated followers. That secret method is then used to pull the ‘real’ message out of the scriptures. This hermeneutic method has been used in Jewish Kabbalah, Buddhists/Hindu Tantra and Muslim Sufism — to name a few. For an example of hidden meaning in Biblical texts see this fantastic video which debunks the popular book: “The Bible Code” which purports that the Jewish Tanakh used a hidden text hermeneutic.
So, to honoring this manipulative, creative hermeneutic tradition, I have playfully invented this new poetry form which I will call “The Kabbalic Homonym”.
For you visual folks, let me start with a diagram of the process for making a Kabbalic Homonym, then I will describe it for you auditory folks below:
- First, create a secret “Hidden Poem” with the following constraints:
- It must be a quatrain (4 lines) with exactly 4 words per line [syllables and metre aren’t constrained]
- Each line of the quatrain must contain a homonym — a word which allows two widely different meanings while using the same spelling and the same pronunciation. I have illustrated where the homonyms are in my poem, but a homonym may be in any position in each line.
- Next, use the Hidden Poem to create the “Public Poem” with these constraints:
- It must have exactly 4 quatrains (4 stanzas of 4 lines)
- Each quatrain will be constructed from the respective lines in the Hidden Poem: 1st quatrain from the 1st line, 2nd quatrain from the 2nd line . . .
- The words imported from the Hidden Poem must appear in the same position in the line of the Public Poem as they do in the Hidden Poem.
- Words per line may be 4 or more
- Since each line of the hidden poem must contain a homonym, a homonym will appear in each of the 4 stanzas of the Public Poem. When you use the homonym in the Public Poem it may not have the same meaning as used in the Hidden Poem. This further helps hide the true message.
Let me know what you think of my poems — both the Public and the Hidden Poem. Critical comments are coveted both because challenges are instructive and because they will show me that you are actually trying to understand this post.
If you should attempt your own Kabbalic Homonym poem, please give us a link in the comments. And, should you have despaired in finding my hidden meaning and found my explanations to convoluted, just use your mouse and highlight the “blank” space below to reveal the hidden truth!
Between our comfortable lies
we all hide truths
fearing light from those
immune to our spells.