Dominic (Black paint on White Canvas) from a poem by e.e. cummings as set to music by Vincent Persichetti.

Recently, I was driving to work, listening to the news on the radio, when a nice turn of phrase caught my ear. It made me think about words as art. Words have always been my preferred media, and much of my writing can be seen as a sketchbook.

When I think of art, I think of form and I think of function. It seems like most words these days are focused on function. Make money online. Try to convince someone of a point of view, or at least preaching to the choir, but where is the form, where is the beauty?

Yes, there is poetry, which is perhaps the closest we get to words as form over function. e.e.cummings was a master of this. It was probably in junior high school that I was in a chorus that performed the poem Dominic by e.e.cummings, put to music by Vincent Persichetti. Mixing media even more, I imagine it as black paint on white canvas.

Today is Robert Frost's birthday, another poet I grew up on. His words have often caused me, not to stop and think, but to stop and ponder, the way I've pondered great paintings in a museum. Trying to use words to describe those words seems to bring us to literary variant of Gödel's incompleteness theorem.

Perhaps the closest I can get of bringing together all of these thoughts is the seventh proposition of Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus,, "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent".


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