Monday, July 20, 2015

untethered *


Have you ever heard of Grooks?  They're quite new to me. A grook is a short, aphoristic poem, revealing in a minimum of words and with a minimum of lines some basic truth about the human condition. Grooks were created originally during the Nazi occupation of Denmark. They began life as a sort of underground language just out of reach of the understanding of the Germans. They have since become one of the most widely read forms of composition in the Scandinavian - and English - languages. Grooks are the product of one of the most ingenious minds of this or any other century. Piet Hein (1905-1996) was a philosopher, mathematician, designer, scientist, game inventor and author who asserted that the great cultural divide was not between the haves and the have-nots, but between the knows and the know-nots.

A Psychological Tip

Whenever you're called on to make up your mind,
and you're hampered by not having any,
the best way to solve the dilemma, you'll find,
is simply by spinning a penny.
No -- not so that chance shall decide the affair
while you're passively standing there moping;
but the moment the penny is up in the air,
you suddenly know what you're hoping.

Out of Time

My old clock used to tell the time
and subdivide diurnity;
but now it's lost both hands and chime
and only tells eternity.

The Miracle of Spring

We glibly talk
 of nature's laws
but do things have
 a natural cause?

Black earth turned into
 yellow crocus
is undiluted
 hocus-pocus.

The Egocentrics

People are self-centered
to a nauseous degree.
They will keep on about themselves
while I'm explaining me.

Thoughts on a Station Platform

It ought to be plain
how little you gain
by getting excited
and vexed.

You'll always be late
for the previous train,
and always in time
for the next

The Paradox of Life

A bit beyond perception's reach
I sometimes believe I see
that Life is two locked boxes, each
containing the other's key.

The Road to Wisdom

The road to wisdom?
-- Well, it's plain
and simple to express:
Err
and err
and err again
but less
and less
and less.


* the painting, not Piet Hein

19 comments:

The Crow said...

Enjoyed these immensely, Susan; great word play and architecture.

The one that made my heart sing, though, is the second verse of The Miracle of Spring. Sometimes words, lines grab at my emotions and my chest swells with...I don't know what, exactly, but I think it is related to pure joy.
Thank you for these poems.

marja-leena said...

The Grooks are wonderful and new to me too! You do find such treasures, Susan.

I adore the image! The centre thing looks like a collagraph print, making me think of a broken rusty tin can, or an even more broken down sailing ship. Funny what we see and how it relates to our kind of work or imagery.

Tom said...

A thoroughly enjoyable read. Thank you!

Should Fish More said...

I confess to not having heard of them before this, but I quite enjoy them. They're like haiku with a few more syllables.

susan said...

I'm delighted to know the poem had that effect on you, Martha. I agree it's a beautiful image.

susan said...

I was just as delighted to find them, Marja-Leena. Apparently, he wrote more than ten thousand of them as an aside to all his serious scientific work.

I'm glad you like the image. It's an interesting technique that involved several 'pours' of watercolor pigments of varying in intensity. Then I did some painting to tease out some suggested elements - like the wrecked ship you mention.

susan said...

A pleasure, Tom.

susan said...

The internal harmonies of them are really delightful, aren't they?

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Susan
A wonderful image to go with those elegant lines which as an added bonus (to me anyway) rhyme.
Best wishes

L'Adelaide said...

These are fabulous and this one:
The Egocentrics

People are self-centered
to a nauseous degree.
They will keep on about themselves
while I'm explaining me.

made me laugh.... so true, isn't it!! That's not really a question since it is so true.

I'm off to bed but wanted to say good night to you, dear heart. Hoping all is well in your world... I feel a great distance these days, being offline as much as I am but accepting things as they are and saying "Isn't this lovely?" a lot. xox

susan said...

Happy to know you enjoyed it, Lindsay.
All the best

susan said...

I really liked another one I found too:

Ars Brevis

There is
one art,
no more,
no less:
to do
all things
with art-
lessness.

For a lady whose art comes naturally :)

Ol'Buzzard said...

Grooks - I had never heard of them; but now they are something to keep me up nights.
thanks
the Ol'Buzzard

Sean Jeating said...

Enjoyed the lookies
after 'accepting'
Googles' cookies.

susan said...

Glad to know you enjoyed them, OB.

susan said...

I wonder how that happened?

Sean Jeating said...

Ah, I am just a bit splenetic as currently all the time Google is demanding me to accept their latest "Cookie-laws". As if asking once were not enough.

Sean Jeating said...

Mostly laughed about the same as L'Adelaide did.

susan said...

I have no clue why this is happening to you, Sean. We both have 'blogger' accounts and I have no trouble at all commenting on your posts.