The Soul Of Genius

 

 

Back in 2015, Blackwell's Bookshops and the Bodleian Library jointly offered an Academic Writing Prize of £2,500 for the best student essay entitled What is Genius? It was timed to celebrate the opening of the new Weston Library where an inaugural exhibition, Marks of Genius, displaying 130 of the Bodleian's greatest treasures, was being mounted. Whilst 'genius' is a hackneyed term which undervalues its essential meaning, perhaps, after all, it is universally available.

I have been unable to discover the winning essay, but decided to share with you a few thoughts in the following poem. This is from my second collection, Mysteries of Light, which is currently being compiled.

 

 

A Talent Set On Fire
 

Genius is talent set on fire by courage.
Henry Van Dyke


Genius is interior light
the fathomless world of the crystal
caught in a needling sunbeam
or quivering candlelight

It is not of itself intellectual
nor inspiration, acumen, slick memory
the crisp organisation of words
on the uninformed page

Genius burns without consuming
like Moses' bush on Sinai
discard your mental shoes
this is Holy Ground
a penetrating glimpse
of form and meaning
hard edges melting
in luminous mist
patterns within patterns
reverberant echoes
from wild forgotten caves
pounded by tides subject
to lunar magnetism
the synaptic lightning
forked from the lodestone
of archaic memory

The landscape of genius
is the sheer rock face
grappled with irons and grit
for a squint at Eternity

 

The Great White Peak - Edgar Payne

 

Comments 2

 
Stephen Evans on Sunday, 09 April 2017 04:42

I sometimes feel writing is like flying, flapping your wings up and down over and over in an attempt to stay aloft long enough to catch an updraft that lifts you where you know you'd never have the power to go on your own. Then you come down again and your wings are rested and you can keep on a while longer in hope.

I sometimes feel writing is like flying, flapping your wings up and down over and over in an attempt to stay aloft long enough to catch an updraft that lifts you where you know you'd never have the power to go on your own. Then you come down again and your wings are rested and you can keep on a while longer in hope.
Rosy Cole on Sunday, 09 April 2017 17:40

That's a very good simile. So true!

As I see it, genius is 'spirit' and can be good or bad, either creative or subversive. We're all gifted innate capabilities, but the kindling of true inspiration in any context comes from perseverance on the one hand, or a slippery desire to cheat on the other. Writers may have light-bulb moments with ideas and themes and starting points, but the kind of inspiration that takes it to another level and holds it together only comes from graft.

That's a very good simile. So true! As I see it, genius is 'spirit' and can be good or bad, either creative or subversive. We're all gifted innate capabilities, but the kindling of true inspiration in any context comes from perseverance on the one hand, or a slippery desire to cheat on the other. Writers may have light-bulb moments with ideas and themes and starting points, but the kind of inspiration that takes it to another level and holds it together only comes from graft.
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Sunday, 23 July 2017

Captcha Image

Latest Comments

Ken Hartke In Praise of Old Hotels – Taos and Leadville
21 July 2017
The road is always calling... I'm debating with myself about driving up into Wyoming for the solar e...
Stephen Evans In Praise of Old Hotels – Taos and Leadville
20 July 2017
I so enjoy these - they make me want to hit the road!
Ken Hartke In Praise of Old Hotels – Taos and Leadville
20 July 2017
I'm glad you liked it. I enjoy visiting these authentic old places and appreciate the effort to kee...
Katherine Gregor In Praise of Old Hotels – Taos and Leadville
20 July 2017
I so enjoy your descriptions of various hotels! Each has its distinctive personality. I have fond m...
Stephen Evans The Poem I would have Writ
14 July 2017
Maybe it is an excuse though I tend to read is more as frustration with the choice between being in...

Latest Blogs

It has been a while since I shared an old hotel dispatch from the road.   Here in the high desert of New Mexico, June is our hottest month and the onl...
"What is truth? said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer. Certainly there be, that delight in giddiness, and count it a bondage to fix a ...
"My life has been the poem I would have writ,  But I could not both live and utter it." Henry David Thoreau Born July 12, 1817 ...
I am priveleged to occasionally witness these little domestic dramas as they play out in my backyard. This is my local Scaled Quail family.  Body lang...
Some people have studies.  Others dens.  Or offices.  I have a Scriptorium. In our previous home, H. worked in the spare room, and I at the dining ...