One pleasure of poetry is in speed of movement. Another is in the slow curve of the mind in response to that speed: We gradually embrace, in the dreamy slow motion of thought, the meaning of each quick gesture. The word “quick” includes among its meanings the ideas “alive” and “sensitive.” And the word “ponder” connotes heaviness. The poem is quick, in all senses, and we enjoy pondering it.
For instance, we may read a poem like William Shakespeare’s “The Phoenix and the Turtle” or Frank O’Hara’s “In Memory of My Feelings” many times, deliberately relishing at our leisure each tricky phrase or lightning-cut of transition.
A book, Jason Schneiderman’s Sublimation Point, has the fast thinker’s brilliance, where the rapid movement is both funny and, like so much comedy, quick-stepping, a teasing dance of avoidance and engagement with fear
By Robert Pinsky
© 2005 The Washington Post Company
The answer is entropy—how smell works—
little bits of everything—always spinning
off from where they were—flying off at random
into the world—which is to say into air.
There are other ways of solid to gas—
they’re substance specific, like iodine,
or dry ice—how I felt when I saw you—
straight to a new state without passing
through expected ones—as though enough
of me left at the moment you appeared that
I could never be whole without you—apply
heat—I turn straight into ether…