Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Poetry Break: "On Big Creek Ridge"

Viola, Arkansas
"The 'Red-Dot' Town"
(Dot Visible at Wikipedia)

I'm grateful to the fine folks at Wikipedia for this detailed view of Viola, Arkansas, which I do recall as a red dot in the steel cube of Arkansas.

Just kidding. Arkansas's no steel cube -- as the map itself proves -- and Viola's no red dot in Concannon's Red Dot Theory. Even we isolated Arkansawyers could imagine a world beyond our horizons.

As early as the summer of my ninth year, when I was living several miles outside of Viola in the wilds of my paternal grandmother's farm and was content just plowing her big garden while she and Grandpa Archie watched from their porch, I already knew that there was more:
On Big Creek Ridge

The summer I plowed grandma's far garden,
an eagle caught my eyes with curved talons.
I glimpsed an obscured form against brown ground
stretching curious furrows straight and long.
By the end of the summer, when I returned Salem and began my fourth grade, I was the strongest boy in my class ... for a few weeks, until the effects of pushing that plow had worn off.


At 7:58 AM, Blogger jj mollo said...

You are full of amazing things.

I think the steel cube can't keep out everything. The being can't exist without breaks in the cube where sustenance and eagles might fly in. The sight of an eagle carries the imagination a long distance. The makeup of the being itself gives clues to the outer world. What made it? Where did it come from. We were not built for such a world as this one, the being must be saying to itself.

What is the function of the red dot beyond orientation? If there were no red dot, would existence itself be ascertainable?

It makes me wonder about the steel cube of North Korea. The angry stares from its soldiers tell me that their imaginations are still locked inside.

The "Truman Show" is a kind of a steel cube. Is the fallen hardware comparable to the red dot? No, I guess the whole Truman world would be the red dot. The fallen hardware would be a break in the cube where an eagle might fly in.

At 9:22 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I agree with you. Concannon's thought experiment fails, and his steel cube breaks on the rocks of our everyday experience of thinking outside the box.

Not that there aren't limiting cases where Concannon's theory models reality.

Next week, I'm going with my wife to see a musical about one of North Korea's prison camps. I know, I know -- this sounds like a Springtime for Hitler experience. But it's quite the opposite of that -- and rather effective, from reviews that I've read. It might be worthy of a blog review.

And I'll bet those inmates knew something about red dots in steel cubes...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 12:42 PM, Blogger jj mollo said...

There is somewhere on the Web a long story, almost a travel narrative, of a woman who spent time in a North Korean prison camp for scant reasons. She describes it with cruel and beautiful detail. I think she eventually escaped through China with her daughter? and became a Christian. I have unfortunately lost the link. It's been several years, over five I think. I'm wondering if the musical is written from her experience.

At 1:13 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JJ Mollo, that might be Eyes of the Tailless Animals: Prison Memoirs of a North Korean Woman, by Soon Ok Lee.

I haven't yet read it, but I've read The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag, by Kang Chol-Hwan.

Both escaped from the gulags and from North Korea and have become Christians (if I recall).

Jeffery Hodges

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