A further instalment from Prospero’s Book:
The core problem in writing about magic is in expressing just what you want to say. It can never be adequate, nor ever just right: precisely the poet’s problem. What can be said can never be the thing itself. It can point, lead and direct but not completely explain.
‘The Tao that can be told is not the Eternal Tao.’
Our blocks and counters of words are but airy symbols capable of being misunderstood, or understood in ways we never planned. We must hope to hold in our word patterns some sense that will say more than the words: an underrun of meaning inexplicable in just those mere words.
This is the task and definition of poetry, to resonate deep images in a receiving mind.
Resonance is important. With our spells, some make superficial sense; others are gibberish, but for that very reason: that behind the rattle and bray of the sounds some super sense and feeling of deep significance is invoked and evoked. Good nonsense poetry can have the same effect. Thus invocation is vitally important to waken the super senses of the mind to their possibilities. Mantras, the intonations of the Mass, and the driving power of some music, strange chants and ululations, all contribute to this effect (distancing oneself from one’s Self, if you like).