“What do we call visible light? We call it color. But the electromagnetic spectrum runs to zero in one direction and infinity in the other, so really, children, mathematically, all of light is invisible.”
–Anthony Doer, All the Light We Cannot See
Welcome to Tuesday Poetics, Everyone! It’s Merril at the bar today. I have an assortment of beverages—hot, cold, alcoholic, or not. What’s your pleasure? I think I’ll have a cup of tea now, and some wine later. OK. Are you settled? You might need some special eyeglasses or devices because we’re going to talk about invisibility.
Recently, I saw the trailer for a new movie called The Invisibles. It’s a docudrama about Jews who lived in Berlin during WWII–sort of hiding in plain sight. Then suddenly, I started seeing references to “invisible” everywhere.
One might argue that it’s the poet’s job to make the invisible visible through our words—to make us see a love in a star, or to make us smell a rose that exists only in the poet’s mind. But today I want to explore that idea more explicitly.
There are things that our naked eyes cannot see—light rays, bacteria, faraway planets—and there are things we do not see because we don’t look up or down or around. We often do not see the homeless or the people who clean houses, offices, and streets, or those who do menial labor. I found this poem by Renato Rosaldo who writes of being one of the invisible: “I’m one of the invisible living among the notable.”
Perhaps you want to think about the paranormal—ghosts, spirits, poltergeists, and all the things that go bump in the night (or day). We may sense them, but not see them. Perhaps your smile lingers while you become invisible like the Cheshire Cat? Perhaps you have a cloaking device, like on Star Trek? Or are you a spy using invisible ink?
Being invisible can be a metaphor, or it can lead us to imagine new pleasures, horrors, or adventures. What would you do if you were invisible?
Write a poem in any form that references invisible or invisibility. There are lots of ways to go with this, and I’m eager to see what the dVerse community comes up with. I’ve also just thought that an erasure poem might fit this prompt—erasing words or making them invisible to make a poem visible. So that’s another option. And of course, you might want to continue writing sonnets or rubaiyat.
If you are new, here’s how to join in:
- Write a poem (in any form) in response to the challenge.
- Read and comment on other poets’ work–we all come here to have our poems read.
- Please link back to dVerse from your site/blog.
- Comment and participate in our discussion below, if you like. We are a friendly bunch of poets.