The Poesis of Our Lives

The poesis of our lives is part of who we are as human beings. A well lived life takes training, care, diligence, and the willful care of the mind and soul. It is through long endured effort and management of a life that the human art will be realized.  I think that this is the deeper connotation of what Pope is saying. In this fragment, from Essay on Criticism, he is making a statement about the craft of the written word. What appears to come easily to “gifted” individuals stems from training; stems from care; stems from diligence; stems from the willful care of the object towards that which the gifted craftsman is working. The gifted craftsman is not gifted because he was born with those set of skills, nay, the gifted craftsman is gifted because he has put in his time and his resources to hone those skills for which he has sought after.

It cannot be argued that each of us are naturally better at some things than we are at others, but that can only take us so far. For instance, some people are born taller which gives them the natural ability to reach higher than does a short person. But, in a situation reverse of that just stated, a person of smaller stature has some evolutionary traits that will be beneficial in other situations, such as getting into a confined space.

I like the simile that Pope uses to compare the artisan to the dancer. We can see that the dancer, after honing his skills,  does not only use them when he is out on the dance floor. Instead, the long labored after skills intertwine themselves with the very core of the dancer.  After going through their own form of chrysalis, the dancer is changed.  What was their life beforehand is not the same as it is now. The dancer now has the grace and elegant ease of movement that is characteristic of that profession.

What the analogy serves to inform is, in contrast to popular thought, not everyone can be a skilled writer. Yes, most people can form sentences; most people can use words correctly; most people are intellectually conscious enough to weave them together to form contextual patterns, but not everyone is a gifted writer; not everyone is an artistic writer; not everyone is Alexander Pope.  Simply put, to become a good writer takes the same training, care, diligence, and willful care as it does to become a dancer, but not just any dancer- the Prima Donna.

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