D.卡尔顿 罗西
D. Carlton Rossi

Poetic Analytics 5

The poet will briefly summarize his understanding of his completeness through thorough unification with the renmianyu  rén miàn yú  人面
(fish-face of Banpo pottery and in the poet’s Banpo poetry). The actual bowl was fashioned by hand out of clay, fired in a furnace and then painted. However, before he begins he must seemingly digress as the stream continues to change its course. Previously, he had written a set of poems which were entitled My Grandparents and My Parents respectively. Yet, there was present an incompletion and sense of the unfulfilled. It was himself that was incomplete and unfulfilled. It meant that he would have to write about himself in a third poem, however, reluctantly, he felt about the subject. He completed himself and family, though, through thorough trilogy and by writing about himself in Myself.

Here he is. Of course, things are different and yet similar. He had completed a set of poems of the same name. One was written in 2007 and another just recently in 2015. There was no thought of another one and even if there were then it would probably take another eight years like the previous trilogy. He’s in the midst of creating a Poetic Analytics of Imagery, but he seems lost in the mist of words. Yet, what if completion meant a third poem of a trilogy? To be more specific, what if the image poem took the form of a flowchart? The third poem in the form of a flowchart would complete his unification with the renmianyu. He will become the broken fragments of the renmianyu buried in the ground waiting for the return of the Yellow River. 

The third poem of the New Year of 2016 is called Poetic Analytic Imagery. It is outlined herein through a short description. It is embedded within an essay called Poetic Analytics of Imagery through Streams of Unconsciousness and Consciousness. 

Poetic Analytic Imagery is composed of sets of micro-poems within mini-poems which flow, stream and transform into one another to form the poem Poetic Analytic Imagery. A set may begin, for example, on a "tread upwards" with a sense spirit, feel soul or dream. This is the realm of poetry which originates with the unconscious. The second step is the process of analytics. This involves logical thought of the conscious and creative imagination. Finally, there is dialectical synthesis of the immaterial and material. In a "read downword" the process is reversed.

                                      Read Downword

The micro-poems flow in two directions.The first direction represents the "read downword". It begins with the numinous in the isosceles. It is considered by the poet to be an idea of the ideal. Through deduction the first rectangle of the 2015 poem called 山过山 is placed inside of the isosceles thus forming a smaller isosceles at the apex. It then transforms through a second set of poems to a rectangle within the isosceles which is within a larger rectangle. The rectangle is now within and without the isosceles.

The third set introduces the fish. There are horizontal fish. There are vertical fish. There are horizontal fish forming a vesica pisces.

The fourth set introduces several themes.There is the five-fold rectangle theme. Then, there is the placement of circles within the isosceles and rectangle. Finally, there are the parallelograms which are partially inside and outside the larger rectangle.

The fifth set (as does every set) represents a rectangle below the isosceles in the poem of 2015. In other words, each set is a mini-poem. This was not planned. It developed both unconsciously and consciously. The same can be said of the five sets in the tread upward. It just so happened that five sets matched five sets. It wasn’t even realized until they were completed.

The fifth set is critical because it begins the process of folding. Triangles outside are folded within. Then, the right-side of the rectangle is folded under the left-side. At last, the bottom of the left-half of the rectangle is folded upward. The result is a yang rectangle. To the eye, it seem likes a square.

                                       Upward Tread

The upward tread begins naturally at the bottom. The Ouroboros symbolizes rebirth or something that constantly recreates. Its concept was first introduced in the essay, but it has evolved from the circle within the small isosceles and rectangle of the read downword. The circle of life is now outside the rectangle. It is a mating and matching of circle and rectangle.

The second set completes the unfolding process. It may be more important to note though that the process of poetic creation, analytics and synthesis is reversed in terms of direction. Therefore, the synthesis is at top of the set.

The third set develops multiple themes. The shape of the mountain character morphs from bottom to top. Upper and lower rectangles coalesce into a large rectangle. The synthesized mountain character is within a rectangle and is both within the isosceles and without the isosceles.

The fourth set primarily multiplies and unites the mountains and mountain characters. The one mountain character metamorphoses into three. One is reminded earlier of one fish becoming three fish. The three, separate, mountains then form a mountain family.The three mountains and characters unite into a mountain family of three characters.

The final set is more difficult for the poet to explain to himself. At first, the mountain family and characters are unified within the isosceles. That arrow-like top may resemble one of the mountains in the insignia of the Dawu Group mentioned later in the essay. The steps below which form ladders of opposing triangles are integrated by virtue of a step upward into the forms immediately above them.

The analysis stage begins with a micro-poem that resembles an earlier one, but in this case the rectangle is implicit rather than explicit. Its mountain family is also an unfolding of the first stage whose chain was contained within the isosceles. Also, the isosceles is now at the forefront with the triangles behind it.

The second micro-poem unifies three strokes of the mountain character with the three mountains of the family.The three peaks of the character are triangular in shape.There is a balance of yin and yang in the character.


             Inscription on Bronze          Oracle Bone Script

Finally, the fifth mini-poem and the poem Poetic Analytic Imagery ends with a united mountain family of three. It is difficult to tell where one mountain begins and another mountain ends. The fish symbol is extremely abstract as a fish mouth with three sharp teeth. It seems that the mountain character is also hidden until one realizes something. The modern mountain character has devolved into what resembles an earlier Chinese character version of the mountains which is about 3000 years ago. It is crown-like. In fact, if the transformation were to continue in time it might resemble the single pointed triangle on top of the head of the renmianyu. The character, too, would be cloud-like if it were rounded. It resembles a mountain crown in the clouds.

                  Stream Over Stream (过流 Liúguò liú)

The Stream Over Stream title parallels the titles of the Mountain Over Mountain poems of 2007 and 2015. While written horizontally for convenience sake it actually runs vertically in Chinese as do the titles of those poems. The one minor difference lies in how the word “over” is translated into Chinese. In terms of Stream Over Stream, the poet has chosen a more conventional translation of “over” or in simplified Chinese.

The title also represents a simplification. The more complex meaning may be expressed as Stream of Consciousness Over Stream of Unconsciousness. It is written horizontally. Stream of Consciousness is written as . This means it is slightly different from the theme employed in novels. Literally, it may be understood word for word as “meaning knowledge flow”. The word “over” or   in Chinese can be recognized from the Chinese version of Stream Over Stream. The most difficult expression to translate is Stream of Unconsciousness because it may not as yet be recognized or defined at least in terms of this context--especially in Chinese. It is translated as 无意. Literally, on a “word for word for word” basis, this ironically means “no meaning knowledge”. The entire expression is 无意

The poet wishes to characterize the development of the 2007 poem called 山上山 or Mountain Over Mountain in terms of  Stream Over Stream. Its development is through Stream of Consciousness. The poet consciously sought to find a pattern in the previous eye wall chart. With method he sought a Chinese character which could be substituted for a tumbling E.  He interpreted the chart, in part, in terms of a flowing logic or truth table. It so happens that the 2015 poem has the same name in English but a different name in Chinese with regard to the middle word and character. 

However, the 2015 poem called 山过山 developed entirely differently. Its sources were from the unconscious. It relied on revelation, dreams and creative imagination among other sources. While the poet had been aware of the form of the isosceles in the 2007 poem as small and with one it was now explicitly drawn as large and with three . What had been previously been recognized as a square of four at its base now appeared to be only square-like. In other words, it was a rectangle resembling a square. It was the first of five rectangles supporting the isosceles. There was now the recognition that the geometric forms and character forms sprang from the well-spring of the isosceles as if it were giving birth to them.

Hence, the poet had Stream Over Stream in Mountain Over Mountain. The Mountain above was over the Mountain below. The Stream above was over the Stream below. The Stream of Consciousness above was over the Stream of Unconsciousness below. Both poems were of the same name in English, but slightly different names in Chinese. They both involved mountains and streams or mountain streams. 

The flow of the streams was different in several ways. The 2007 poem flowed down. The 2015 poem flowed down and up. The earlier poem was read down while the older poem was “read downword” and “tread upward”. Therefore, the form turned from a rather passive experience in the 2007 poem to an active one in the 2015 transformation. In the 2007 poem,  the flow of stream was left to right. In its 2015 version the flow is both oblique with the division between black and white and and zig-zag. determined. Finally, the 2007 eyechart on the wall and the poet's version of it were read differently. The original eyechart was read as the doctor told the patient to read it. The 2007 poem with Chinese characters was read by the poet in terms of math-myth-moral structure and might be seen by a perceptive reader in a similar fashion. Finally, the 2007 poem was actually developed as a formal eyechart with Chinese characters while the 2015 poem was informally an eyechart, but formally reinterpretation of the yin-yang symbol. 

The two poems were different in another way with respect to characters. In the 2007 poem, the characters were simply black on a white background. The 2015 poem turned everything upside down so to speak. The characters could be black or white. White characters were generally on the left-side and black characters were on the right-side. White characters were generally above on the first line of a rectangle and black characters were usually below on the second line of a rectangle. White characters were on a black background and black characters were on a white background. This suggests a yin-yang symbolic balance except with lines rather than curves.

The size of the characters is also important. In the 2007 poem, the characters get smaller as one goes down. However, in the 2015 poem, the characters get smaller as one reads down and larger as one treads up. Basically, the latter poem expresses a sense of diminish and increase as reflected in a yin-yang symbol. In the yin-yang symbol the two small dots remain the same size within a larger circle. However, the concept of diminish and increase is conveyed partially through the curve separating and joining them. In the 2015 poem, the fourth and fifth characters on the third line are the equivalent of the dots of the yin-yang symbol. The characters literally decrease and increase because there is a straight line rather than a curve separating and joining the yin from the yang. The larger, numinous and luminous characters are at the top and the smaller, numerous and nebulous counterparts are at the bottom.    

When the second poem was completed the poet decided to analyze the two poems to understand what on earth and in heaven was going on. His purpose was to determine if the second poem was actually complete. He decided to put this analysis in an unconventional analytical format in terms of neither an English nor Chinese essay. The essay would flow as streams of consciousness and unconsciousness. It would be called Poetic Analytics of Imagery through Streams of Consciousness and Unconsciousness. However, he realized that the 2015 poem (me) and for that matter the 2007 poem (me) was incomplete. He would need a third poem to complete them. The new poem would be derived from the name of the essay, but was different to distinguish it from the essay. It was called Poetic Analytic Imagery.

                 Current Convection Cycle and Mountain Building
                           in Poetic Analytic Imagery (2016)   


                            Convergence of tectonic plates and subduction
                                        H. R. Marschall 2016

It was said by Heraclitus that fire was the basic element. From fire, the elements arose as fire transforms to sea, then half of sea to earth and half to rarefied air. The way is an upward-downward path which go on simultaneously and instantaneously in hidden harmony.

Today, magma is regarded as one of the four easily observable phases of matter which include liquid, solid and gas. Magma is believed to be the most common, visible state of matter in the Universe. The phases differ in terms of qualitative property; although, there may be a phase transition by adding energy, motion and pressure. It may be said that magma contains four of the basic elements that concerned the pre-Socratic philosophers; namely, fire (kinetic energy), water, air (oxygen) and earth (silicates and clay).

Earth is the only planet in the Solar System where tectonic plates move due to circular convection currents in the fluid mantle. Basically, four billion years ago, approximate thermal equilibrium was reached where heat generation was balanced by heat flow. The main process to regulate the balance is convection where hot material of less density rises and cold material of more density sinks.

In plate tectonics, a plate consists of an outer crust and a thin layer of upper mantle which together form a lithosphere. For example, if two convergent plates meet then the denser oceanic lithosphere sinks under the lighter continental lithosphere in a subduction zone. If there is little friction then the slide goes smoothly. The dense oceanic lithosphere sinks to the asthenosphere where it is recycled. Most of the oceanic lithosphere is recycled, but some hot mantle rises to form active volcanoes.

Almost all magmas contain water in solution, but the percentage of water depends on the type of magma.  For example, mafic arc magma contains 4 wt% water. Water may be introduced at subduction zones in the pore spaces of the sea floor or be present in minerals such as hornblende, biotite and clay minerals. The introduction of water or carbon dioxide may lower the melting temperature allowing a partial flux melting of rock to form magma. Magma may also be generated by decompression melting through convection or by intrusion of magma (heat transfer).




                                          Geology for Today     Dr. Tambra L. Eifert


At divergent boundaries, there is an upwelling of magma of the asthenosphere due to rising convection currents. Hot material which is less dense rises. The hot magma pushes on the bottom of the lithosphere and lifts it. There is also a lateral flow in both directions through subduction which drags the plate material in the direction of the flow. At the crest of the uplift, the plate is stretched thin and mid-ocean ridges are formed. The magma then cools and flows downward through the subduction zone.

In this process the Earth's diameter remains constant. This means there is no net creation or destruction of the lithospheric plates. Therefore, crust created at divergent boundaries is balanced by a destruction of crust at convergent lithospheric plate boundaries. 

                                Current Convection Cycle

                             of Divergence and Convergence

The current convection cycle or cell cycle can be used to illustrate both "read downword" and "tread upward" of Poetic Analytic Imagery (2016). For example, when lateral magma cools under the lithosphere, it then falls in a subduction zone. This is equivalent to the "read downword" in the poem. The magma then recycles in the asthenosphere which might be considered the folding phase at the end of the "read downword". Then, the magma heats and becomes less dense. It rises as one "treads upward" in the poem. When the magma hits the lithosphere it spreads out in divergent directions which is the equivalent of the unfolding in the "tread upwards". The magma renews the crust which corresponds to the creation role of the Ouroboros.
This thermal cell cycle brings together, for example, continental plate and oceanic plate in convergence. The oceanic plate is more dense and sinks in a subduction zone. This is equivalent to a "read downword " where unconsciousness sinks below consciousness. The synthesis is recycle through reformation. The second phase of the thermal cell cycle takes place when magma wells up from the asthenoshere in divergence. The magma is taken to the lithosphere where it creates more crust. Ocean ridges are formed. In other words, thought and feeling upwell from the unconscious to the conscious. The synthesis is renewal by rebirth. 

In the stream analogy of Poetic Analytic Imagery, the top stream was composed of  less dense fresh water which travelled in the opposite direction to the dense salt water below. They represented consciousness and unconsciousnes respectively. They flowed horizontally. The synthesis took place in the no flow zone between them. This zone separates and accelerates them except where turbulence causes them to mix and release energy.  

In the "current convection cycle" analogy of Poetic Analytic Imagery, the direction of flow is circular. A "current convection cycle" or "cell cycle" upwells magma which is hot and less dense. This is equivalent to certain thoughts and feelings which surface to consciousness at the lithosphere. The synthesis is creation of an ocean ridge which corresponds to the family of three mountains in the poem. Then, the magma cools and enters a subduction zone. If there is turbulence in the magma then it may surface to some extent in an active volcano. When deceleration of the magma ceases then magma flow stops. The poet regards this as a type of no-flow zone of magma between slowly decelerationg downwell and slowly and quickly accelerating upwell of magma where the subzone is pulled and the lithospere is pushed respectively through the current convection cycle. 

The theory of subcrustal thermal convection of current as proposed by David T. Griggs adds a new dimension to Poetic Analytic Imagery in terms of how the poet understands and interacts with it. The start of the process of cell cycle begins when magma slowly accelerates upward. It then proceeds to quickly accelerate. The roots of mountains are formed. However, the mountains themselves are formed later when there is a deceleration of flow.

According to geologist Griggs (1939), mountain building (in terms of what they are made of, where they are and how frequently they are found) depends on thermal convection currents between the top of the mantle and bottom of the lithosphere. He considers that a full cycle of 550 million years can be divided into four phases. The first three phases are geologically speaking rather short and the final phase is long and quiescent.

1. The current is slowly accelerating. The crust compresses and buckles. The length of time is 25 million years.

2. The current is rapidly accelerating. The crust is forced downward, sediments are compressed and folded, and mountain roots are formed. The length of time is 5-10 million years.

3.  The current is decelerating.  Regions which were compressed and buckled seek isostatic equilibrium and mountains develop. The length of time is 25 million years.

4. The current stops. The final phase is quiescence. The length of time is 500 million years. 

(Frankel, 2012, p.235)

The cell cycle theory seems to have several implications for interpretation of the poem. First, the tread upward may be considered as the first phase of slowly increasing speed and quickly increasing speed. The poet though is still at the root of the mountain. Psychologically speaking, the poet wishes to increase speed in order to reach the summit more quickly as his enthusiasm and confidence increases. However, he cannot reach the final summit because that will take another 25 million years for the mountain to reach full height. He needs to begin the "read downword" in the second phase. This phase is defined by deceleration of current flow. In this phase, the poet imagines that he is at the top of a mountain which is slowly gaining in height. He reads down more slowly as time goes by. It will take another 25 million years for the mountain to reach full height and for him to read to the root. Meanwhile, he is simultaneously on the mountain in the tread upward and is able to climb higher as the mountain rises.

In terms of a dialectical approach, the poet begins his "tread upward" from the unconscious toward the conscious. However, he cannot complete his journey because he is still at the root of the mountain and it has not as yet formed. The second phase begins when he "reads downword" as the mountain is forming upward. This means that the poet transitions from the conscious to the unconscious. However, he is not on terra firmaso to speak, as he is reading downword as the mountain rises and treading upward as it rises. The unity of opposites takes place when the mountain is fully formed. The poet has reached the top of the mountain in the "tread upward" and the root of the mountain in the "read downword". The antithesis and thesis are resolved in the third stage through the synthesis of quiescence where here there is no thermal current cycle for 500 million years. 

The irony is not lost on the poet that he has neither to "tread upwards" nor "read downwords". If he simply stands on root of mountain he will reach the summit in 25 million years. Furthermore, if he also stands simultaneously at side of mountain then he can read it from top to bottom in about the same period of time. Geology teaches patience and rewards with quiescence. 

                                    Cell Cycle

                   One reads down to see the other
                   as one treads up on one's own path.

                   Can't one jointly read and tread 
                   for moment that resides in eternity?

                   Here upward and there downword
                   uniting part and part though whole.

                          D. Carlton Rossi  2016

Author's note:  The short biography of David T. Griggs is fascinating reading with respect to the geologist's personal drive to understand mountain building, the theory that he developed and his contribution to radar development during WWII. It is also remarkable that as a civilian he won the Purple Heart.

Getting, Ivan, Christies, John, David Tressel Griggs: A Biographical Memoir, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC: 1994, pp 1-23. 



For a diagram of the four phases in Griggs' Subcrustal Convection Theory of mountain building refer to the following publication.  

Sanjeeva, P. C., A Textbook of Geology, Discovery Publishing House, New Delhi: 2001, p. 51. 

                                         The Rocket Boy

If the poet wishes to be entertained and educated he might watch the movie called “October Sky” (1999). It tells the true story of Homer Hickman Jr. who was the son of a coal miner in Coalwood, West Virginia. Homer learns that while he doesn’t see eye to eye with his father; nevertheless, he’s the same, but in a different way. As his father goes down in the coal mines, Homer dreams of aiming high. At the end of the story he leaves a movie within a movie so to speak called “The Incredible Shrinking Man” to give his medal winning presentation at the science competition where he explains divergence and convergence principles of rocket propellant when it becomes a river of gas. 

                     Poetic Analytic Imagery   2016 Poem

                                     Read Downword

The poet began with the idea of the ideal. The idea was an isosceles triangle. Yet, he did not have the instruments to make it perfect. There were no instruments to make it perfect. He accepted the idea that it appeared to be an isosceles. If the rectangle below what appeared to be a small isosceles in the 2007 poem could appear to be a square then the larger triangle in the 2015 poem could appear to be a large isosceles. If what appeared to be a small isosceles at the top of a large isosceles in the 2015 poem then what appeared to be a large rectangle below a large isosceles could become a small rectangle below a small isosceles at the top of a large isosceles. Intuitively, he believed that he could find a square within the isosceles, but it just wasn’t there.

In the second line of the 2016 poem, the poet felt deeply that the first character was the smallest isosceles. It was illogical though since the character had strokes of different size. The smallest isosceles at the top of the smaller isosceles of three characters of  both isosceles were at the top of a small isosceles. There would be a direct cross relationship between at least the bottom two of the smaller isosceles and two characters in the rectangle which was divided. This, too, seemed illogical because the first large rectangle of the 2015 poem was divided into triangles. Contrasts within the rectangle were then intensified. The poet surprisingly equated two four stroke characters with the dots or eyes of the circular yin-yang symbol. The poet could not logically explain the relationship of the two bottom corners of the isosceles to the divided rectangle except that he felt a folding within process.

On the third line of the mini-poem, he has resolved what had appeared to be logical and illogical. The vertically divided rectangle was perceived as a horizontally divided rectangle with the two characters on the first line. The second line of the rectangle repeated in smaller form the characters of the smaller isosceles, but now they were in linear format as opposed to isosceles shape. The rectangle was divided diagonally. The first four characters now equaled in number the last four characters.  In summary, the first line of micro-poems acts as a conscious thesis, the second line of micro-poems serves the role of unconscious antithesis. The conscious stream flows above the unconscious stream. The third line of one micro-poem represents the unity of opposites. 

The second mini-poem begins with a line of micro-poems employing digital logic in the thesis which is developed by consciousness. The second line of micro-poems baffles the poet. Three micro-poems of the thesis become four micro-poems wherein each micro-poem four divisions are evidenced. The confusion of the opposite state of the unconscious represented by the antithesis was resolved through a dream by a revelation. It occurred about 1:15 am. The poet found that not only had he to immediately write down what was conveyed but also draw it.

While the revelation was unexpected the ability to dive deep into the unconscious during a REM state was common for the poet. For example, there was an earlier time when the poet actually wrote word poems.     He would put a notebook, pencil and flashlight beside the pillow. He would wake up, turn on the flashlight and write down a few key words or phrases from the dream. Perhaps he might repeat this act five or six times after waking up from a dream. He was always unsure if it was the same dream or a different one. Naturally, it became rather disruptive for his sound sleep so he took a short cut. He wrote the words or phrases in the dark and hoped he could decipher then when he was ready to write his poem.

The revelation was expressed in the simplest way. There was an isosceles triangle which is equilateral. Within the isosceles triangle there was a rectangle. However, when he awoke he realized that all shapes in the 2007 poem other than the isosceles were rectangles. He also deduced that in the 2015 poem that the five rectangles below the isosceles were derived from it. Then, his creative imagination kicked in. 

If there could be a rectangle in the isosceles then there could also be simultaneously a rectangle outside the isosceles. It, too, could be derived from the isosceles. In other words, from a small rectangle within an isosceles could be derived a large rectangle without or outside of the isosceles. He heard the lyrics from the Beatle song "Within  You Without You" as he wrote. Furthermore, it now seemed natural that from a large at the top of the isosceles could be derived smaller characters below it and that simultaneously the converse was also true. Finally, he could view his two previous poems in terms of "thesis stream" over "antithesis stream". This meant that the third poem of 2016 was the synthesis or unity of them.

The third mini-poem on the "read downword" introduces the fish theme. The thesis shows three, two and one fish. The synthesis seems to portray fish images similar to his Banpo Poetry Series; although, these images are simpler.

The fourth mini-poem introduces a theme of folding and unfolding. On the thesis line there is a folding in and folding out. It resembles an envelope to the poet. The second line folds out further. The four triangles and rectangles of a previous mini-poem have become five triangles and rectangles. Circles are within both rectangles and triangles whose significance is not clear. The synthesis represents an unfolding of smaller triangles which are fin-like to the poet. 

In the fifth and last mini-poem of the "read downword", the poet experiences something different than he did at the end of the other two poems.There, they ended with multiplicities and numerous characters in great confusion. Here, he feels at peace. There are only three micro-poems. A downward character is being folded in. He is being folded in. There is a kind of luminousness in the whiteness. The original isosceles has become a small square. Originally, he had tried to find the square in the isosceles, but he only found the rectangle. Finally, he has found the square-like. 

                                    Tread Upward

The tread upward began with his encirclement by the Ouroboros at age three. He and his father were at Pier 3 of the town. We climbed down the steps to the water’s edge. My father tied a one-inch rope around my waist. He encircled my waist with his arm and lifted me up. With his other hand he grabbed the other end of the coiled rope. He tossed me into the water like I was a minnow. I was bait for larger fish. The darkness swallowed me. Down like drowned. Blackness. Bubbles above. Rise with bubbles. I was learning to paddle and tread water.

I was baptized in what seemed to be a large font. My Godfather was Anthony and my father Joseph. At my father’s confirmation as a boy,     he had been required to choose a middle name for himself. He chose Anthony because they were related and boyhood friends. His boyhood friend and my distant cousin became my Godfather. The role of the Godfather was to ensure that I was properly trained in the Catholic faith. Later, Anthony brought his kids to the lake where we splashed around doing things that kids do. On a windy day, my father warned me not to go swimming. It was not because of the high waves which looked like fun to jump into, but because of the undertow or undercurrent. I would be taken out a mile under the surface of the waves.


                           Laker at a bridge in Port Colborne 

At around the time of my confirmation at twelve, I competed with a “laker” (freighter). That is, a large ship that sails the lakes. The laker appeared to be far away. I dove off the bank near Pier 3. The surface of the water was calm. My intention was to reach the other side of the canal before the laker passed. However, some lakers come in faster than the legal limit of five knots. This one seemed to be racing. At whatever speed, this one wasn't able to stop for at least a mile. I crossed the path of the laker and thought myself in the clear. However, I was hit by high waves which tossed me around. Those waves indicated she was going fast. Then, something really unexpected happened. I was swimming backwards.  Those big propellers (bigger than a house) were pulling me into them. Though tired by now I had to swim twice as fast or I would be food for fishes. I reached the other side, but never could remember how I got back. 

Our family was at the summer cottage in Haliburton. My mom was learning to swim. She had just been awarded the coveted Blue Dolphin. However, she started to panic and called to me for help. I swam to help, but she pinned my upper arms from behind. We were both bobbing up and down like a cork. I called for help from my dad who was on the dock. He jumped in and swam to the rescue by pulling my mom off my back, performed a rear hug and pulled her to shore. 

years later it was new year’s day in anyang henan the year was 2007      i was researching oracle bone script at the museum i bought a shang dictionary of ideographs which I wanted to translate from the simplified chinese to english the chinese characters for mountain river and fish were among the first I translated tour guide took me to the backyard where the remains of captured prisoners were buried their heads had been cut off and stewed in a large pot for the day’s meal the graveyard and frozen ground made death a palpable presence i left to make a bus connection  i as wearing layers of clothing and my head was topped with toque yet  i saw naked men swimming in the grand canal oh if they can do it so can  i thought actually i had trained every day for more than an hour without any shirt in any weather so it didn’t seem so foolish my students had thought it a lark to climb up in a tree and shake the snow down on me as i ran past i would compete at short distances of 100 meters against cars and motorbikes because there was no other competition for me my water heater had broken down in september and i had reported it nothing was done so i learned to take cold showers up until the pipes froze and burst in the vice-president of the university’s apartment above me of course i new that the pipes would burst but the chinese don’t do anything to solve your problem until it becomes their problem i have patience anyway i impatiently stripped off all my clothes except jockey underwear the swimmers’ water thermometer showed 35 degrees fahrenheit while the air temperature was actually colder at 32 degrees fahrenheit i stuck my toe in the water it seemed freezing to me to give them some satisfaction  i backed up as if i were having second thoughts maybe i was because i was wondering if my heart would stop from the shock i jumped in i felt like a canadian polar bear at home 

Poetic Analytics 6

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Flow, water mass changes, and hydraulics in the Bosphorus Michael C. Gregg and Emin  Özsoy
  • First published: 7 March 2002Full publication history
  • DOI: 10.1029/2000JC000485View/save citation
    • Provider: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
    • Content:text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
    • TY  - JOUR
    • AU  - Gregg, Michael C.
    • AU  - Özsoy, Emin
    • TI  - Flow, water mass changes, and hydraulics in the Bosphorus
    • JO  - Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
    • JA  - J.-Geophys.-Res.
    • VL  - 107
    • IS  - C3
    • SN  - 2156-2202
    • UR  - http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2000JC000485
    • DO  - 10.1029/2000JC000485
    • SP  - 2-1
    • EP  - 2-23
    • KW  - straits
    • KW  - hydraulic controls
    • KW  - mixing
    • KW  - turbulence
    • KW  - Bosphorus
    • KW  - 4223 Descriptive and regional oceanography
    • KW  - 4243 Marginal and semi-enclosed seas
    • KW  - 4219 Continental shelf and slope processes
    • KW  - 4568 Turbulence, diffusion, and mixing processes
    • PY  - 2002