The words in a poem are merely the tip of the iceberg,
the bulk of poetry belongs to a mass beneath the surface.
Invisible words trail the visible and give them force
just like printed paper, backed by gold, gains in value.

But, what can we do, we work with what we have
using the modest symbols we possess to speak
of that which we do not own. Like incantations,
certain combinations set a sentence or soul in motion.

It’s the same with artists who use shadow to bring out light
or musicians who lend instruments their breath and limbs,
to summon music from thick air. So, too, with poets
who conjure hidden correspondences with letters

Which is to say, words only matter up to a certain point
(when you’re using words to lose them). A poem is only
as good as the unseen poem it mirrors or, in other terms,
the Spirit that it harnesses and which swims through it.



Ars Poetica

Yahia Lababidi


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