Putting Up Words Like Flowers – Poetry and Structure

(A questionable method of coming up with story ideas, but you could try. Main point is I just want to go nuts about how awesome Wallace Stevens is and use him for Chuuni fights.)


Some people view prose as a practicum for poetry. Some view poetry as a practicum for prose.

Poetry, after all, is about making structure sacrosanct to anything else. When you read a poem, you won’t have your disbelief suspended in mood-shifts, or verbal shifts, or general play – as long as it fits into that small structure. Arguably, philosophy is also this – but the kinds of structures that it deals with is more mechanistic in nature, and less about the structures of meaning schisms that can erupt in poetry.

I believe that every good poem can be mapped into a good prose narrative, and every good prose narrative can be mapped into a good poem.

For instance, let’s grab a little bit from Wallace Stevens’ poem Sunday Morning

“Jove in the clouds had his inhuman birth.
No mother suckled him, no sweet land gave
Large-mannered motions to his mythy mind.
He moved among us, as a muttering king,
Magnificent, would move among his hinds,
Until our blood, commingling, virginal,
With heaven, brought such requital to desire
The very hinds discerned it, in a star.
Shall our blood fail? Or shall it come to be
The blood of paradise? And shall the earth
Seem all of paradise that we shall know?
The sky will be much friendlier then than now,
A part of labor and a part of pain,
And next in glory to enduring love,
Not this dividing and indifferent blue.”

Sunday Morning, itself, is this very philosophically thick poem about the death of a mythic Paradise in exchange for human life, and a lot of other stuff like that. It starts off with a female, unknown, resting on a Sunday Morning before spreading out into various thoughts on the nature of divinity. Any of the thick Wallace Stevens poems can be converted into the philosophical basis for a cool Ikuhara Anime, simply because of how he mixes all these Taoist/Nietzschean kinds of things with clear metaphorical imagery.

Although the ‘Jove’ links up to the virginal motifs (since Jove is the ultimate mortal-fucker god) – the structure is abstracted enough that you get a general sense of the philosophical posit. As Stevens moved on into his later poems, he started getting more and more abstracted until it seemed as if the images were completely disjunct – but there was a strong structure behind it.

So the first few lines sets up a description of a Mythic Ideal, the next few lines details this ‘descent’ into Man, which is less of an actual descent and more of a philosophic one in the sense of Man gaining an ‘Ideal’ – but he brings it up to the forefront with words like ‘hinds’ and ‘blood’ which seems to call to that idea of the Mind-Body problem. Note that I make all of these philosophical notes, but Stevens’ poem makes you feel it through the directness of the images. Then he asks the existential question whether the blood will ‘fall’ (like normal death) or will be shifted to Paradise – and whether the Earth will encompass this whole Paradise.

The speed that Stevens can place such philosophical posits in direct poetic nature up to the forefront is why he makes a better philosopher than a whole lot of other people who tried to argue the same thing in long-winded ways. Since all of it is so tight, you could totally steal parts of the stanza to come up with a thematic basis for a multi-part story in the same way that Subarashiki Hibi does. Just lengthen it out and imagine what would happen if you threw plot, character, and narrative, into it.

The other point I wanted to make though, is that Subarashiki Hibi should have totally used:

“The sky will be much friendlier then than now,
A part of labor and a part of pain,
And next in glory to enduring love,
Not this dividing and indifferent blue.”

Alongside Emily Dickinson. Another reason why we should start cutting down on copyright lengths so that people can start reaping the benefits of cooler poets.

Whatever. Since nobody has touched Stevens yet, I am totally going to reap him for quotes and abuse him for Chuuni fight scenes.


A sketched out scene totally ripping off all sorts of action writers:

Half of the city was in ruins, yet the battle continued. Then again – it did not matter.

This was, after all, done in the presence of the Tower.

Yes – caught between ideal and reality – a simulacrum. It was the designated area of constant battle that was very much similar to the eternal warfare of that mythological Nordic paradise. Yet, this was different.

You could have called it a sheen placed on the city, like a kind of plastic wrap. It took the form with none of the internal structure. The citizens were faceless puppets.

It could be said that this was a city lacking the memory of a city. Thus, without memory – you could have merely called it ‘form’. The most primal form.

And what gave birth to that very form – was the monstrous absurd figure that stood in the middle of this paper simulacrum. The tower.

The battle, then, was fought between those who viewed the tower as sacrosanct – the very cornerstone of reality, whilst separate from it – and those who wished to break free of its tyranny. For the mere existence of the Tower meant that nothing was truly on its own, and everything led up to it within the Great Chain of Being.

Then, surely, he was such a person.

The youth understood that what truly determined the influence of the Tower, and, as such, the flow of battle – was his own expectations towards the reality that stood around him. If the ten thousand blades were to strike out at him, his survival would have depended on how much he was able to negate that very fact of the matter. In other words – what he needed was concentration.

Do not see the blade as ten thousand blades. There is only one blade.

That blade is placed neither in the realm of the world, or in the realm of your foe. That blade is placed in the realm of your mind.

Vanquish your own mind, and the thousand blades shall dissipate into an embarrassing blizzard of flowers.

But it was due to the lack of insight that the perception still crept in. Ten thousand blades rattled around him as he sailed through the space far above the conundrum of those false buildings.

He turned back. He came face to face with the girl.

If you cannot see the blade placed in the realm of your mind, then, until you can, you have no choice but to face the blade placed in the realm of your foe. Whatever left the center churned into a wider complexity of parts, and names, and categorizations.

He, and her. In other words.

But, if he were to lose even that very sight of her – he would surely be forced to deal with the clash of steel against him.

The girl – name: Faeray Texylon. Otherwise known as: The Steel Copernicia – The Princess of Extinction.

With nothing left to lose, he focused his mind.

“You have made me, and yet you work decay?
Repair me now, or to my end will haste
I run to death, and death meets me as fast           
And all my havens are like yesterday”

Wings erupted. Magnificent golden tendrils wrapped outwards, first seeming like roots in the air – before developing feathers. Feathery blossoms lengthened across.

Around him swirled the winds of Sanctum and Armistice. It was a prevention maneuver that dislocated his center and ensured the blades would never hit him.

“I dare not move my dim eyes any way
Despair behind – but death before me cast
On terror – my flesh I cannot waste
Thus in my swift, towards hell you will weigh”

The tendrils spread downwards, into his palms, before metamorphosing into claws. Yes, now that the spell was set at this point – there was no turning back. A single sweep of decimation was all that he had.

“Only you above, when towards you
Should I once look – I aim to rise again
But subtler foes, in temptor’s hue would rue
To try the hours I myself sustain”

The trajectory was set. Within that funnel of wind – no one could escape. It was a straight path all the way down to her.

“And grace may wing me to prevent his art,
But with like adamant draw mine iron heart.

And then – the finale:

“Poesis Adhere – Forward – Maintain

But, she didn’t even flinch.

“Poesis Abjure – Counter – Deviate”

A long string of words erupted. Focused Verse.

“Death – the mother of beauty,
Alone come fulfillment to our dreams
Strewn the leaves of sure obliteration
Where the triumph rang its brassy phrase

She makes the willow shiver in the sun
The grass, relinquished to their feet
Boys shall pile up these new plums and pears
The maidens taste, and in impassioned stray”

The blades were – falling?

Yes, an embarrassing blizzard of flowers.

Cascaded all around her.

A needle-thin rapier held in her hand, had a drop of red falling off the point.

So that was it – he had been struck. Yet, the world around him seemed to be made mad in its colors and fragrances.

The wings, from him, burnt away to ashes.

It was a confounding spell. The exact moment when he descended, the blades had turned to mesmerizing fragrances. He lost her as a target, and, in their clash, became the target himself.

She was, after all, that lovely and devastating entity known only as the Princess of Extinction. She held her place on the highest tier of the tower.

So it was rather reckless to assume that she would have fallen so simply for a move like that.

Either way – it didn’t matter. His dissipation was a peaceful one.

That was, at the very least, the kind of respect she gave.