Concerning the Meaning Molecule in Poetry

June 15, 2019   •   By Brenda Hillman

This piece appears in the Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal: The Occult, No. 22 

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Concerning the Meaning Molecule in Poetry

Long ago a man told me, If you write poetry
            keep your subjects small;

i was a tiny skinny girl at that point …

Much later, i heard a meaning molecule
in the call of a dove pretending to be an owl in the pine,

a song-speck circling in a thought throughout all time
            (like the man said, extremely small!)

traveling from before literature
through the blue centuries until quite recently

when a radiant instance of the unknown

           paused our bafflement but kept
that little meaning absolutely elusive, & erotic …

                                    for AC & NS



Brenda Hillman is the author of 10 collections of poetry. The most recent is Extra Hidden Life, Among the Days.