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Antonyms

by Amanda J Cobb

Lack of comparison becomes lack
of definition, uncertain reality -

without the contrast
there is no understanding.


Antonyms, then, are linguistic saviors,
filing existence
into convenient blacks and whites
easily understood, readily applied.

Light and dark,
male or female,
love and hate,
left or right...

(you'll notice there's no gray
in a yin-yang.)

Proust's slow arranger,
Woolf's rigid, twisted skeleton -
they have made us creatures
of binary absolutism.

All or nothing, one or the other:
degrees, parts, halves...
neutrality is purgatory
(the ultimate shade of gray)

with the majority trapped on the shore,
awaiting Charon.

How many possibilities lie stranded,
trapped betwixt arbitrary poles?

This, of course, proves wrong
only the practice, not the theory -
end marks give meaning to increments
as much as to each other.

Realize, then, that as much as 'I'
does not equal 'you,'
(the simplest of opposite attractions)
there are still degrees of 'us'

but none of it has meaning
without the you and I.

02/11/2005

Author's Note: Woohoo! This took forever, and is so carefully constructed on my part (relative to usual, at least). For my British and American poetry class, an imitation of American poet Rachel Hadas. Quoting Nina Rosenstand, alluding to Marcel Proust (“Habit, that skillful but slow arranger...”), Virginia Woolf (“Rigid, the skeleton of habit alone upholds the human frame”), Chinese philosophy, and Greek mythology. Oh yeah.

Posted on 02/11/2005
Copyright © 2020 Amanda J Cobb

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Charles E Minshall on 02/11/05 at 04:45 AM

Funtastic Amanda

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