Cut & Paste


I’ve spent the past few weeks immersed in silent dialogue with a few modernist and post-modernist poems. I tell myself it’s for fun (which it is, for the most part) but this is so I remain calm and collected in the few weeks before finals. The fun arises from stumbling on ordinary things with unexpected poetic value: fragments cobbled together with the softest of glues, found texts, other people’s status updates, song lyrics ripped out of context.

When exams are over I hope to swim in the most forgiving and warm waters of Free Time, to put aside grownup talk so I can exercise my other voice. In the meantime, as a complement to the first paragraph, here’s a bit of cut-and-paste cheekery.

bing is a Poet (and Didn’t Know It)

Morning sun ahead of holiday

Skies falling rain.

Corner of the wind up, naughty, blow hair.

It does not affect the Friday caper.

Rain on umbrella shades, tick-tock

Interweaving into notes.

Drops of rain on the ground

Moments into one small flower

Tick rain the beat

Spa system generative. Forces clouds,

Float like a cloud

That is the best suited to drain

When it rains.


– adapted from an advertisement in Mandarin, as translated by Bing


3 thoughts on “Cut & Paste

  1. It’s ironic that this somehow makes perfect sense. I’ve read it five times, and with each reading I appreciate something different, see a different pattern. Is part of what makes poetry, poetry, created by that all-powerful pattern-recognizer, the brain? If we didn’t have this immense capacity to see pattern where none was intended, would we still be able to appreciate poetry? Just an idle thought while standing, singing, sitting, in the rain.

  2. I’ve read through this five times now, and “see” something different each time. Leads me to an idle thought: for something that was unintended as poetry, how can this fantabulous pattern-recognizing organ that is the brain find pattern where none exists? Why is it always seeking to find pattern? Is it coded in our genes, a life-saving capability in the wild? Now that there is no “wild,” or very little, it occupies itself with finding lovely patterns and thinking, “Aha! I ‘get it.'”

  3. I agree with your theories, Jilanne. Isn’t that the coolest thing, though, how dynamic poetic language is? Especially with found texts – the writer just becomes the conduit and as the words hit the page, language takes over…writer steps back and the reader makes the poem something new every time. Thanks for spending time – apologies for the long absence 🙂

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