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Richard Berengarten

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Richard Berengarten Feature

Richard Berengarten

The dialectics of oxygen

Twelve propositions

For Hadaa Sendoo

1. These are the dialectics of oxygen. Breath is the condition of air in and among the living.

2. Breathing and speaking occur in the real world, in real time.

3. To share breath is to share love and justice.

4. Breath is the ground of being and the core of poetry.

5. Find breath (air, wind) and (you will, you may) stand anywhere in spacetime.

6. A breath is a balance and an exchange poised on the fulcrum of being. This for that, tit for tat. Animals on one side, plants on the other. A perfectly tuned economy, a perfectly patterned ergonomy. Tick-tock. A metronome. In all winds and weathers. In all airs.

7. A single breath is a full (complete) wave. Breathing is the tide of life.

8. Since breath is what happens to air when it moves in and out of the living, in and out of life, the margins of breathing and not-breathing distinguish life from not-life.

9. Breath is coterminous with life. Breath means (characterises, defines) the condition life. Breath equals (is) life. Without breath, no life. Without breathing, no living.

10. The dead are (consist of), simply, all those who have ever breathed. Breath is our mortal (deathly) condition in spacetime. What we, the living, share with all the dead, as with all the as-yet-unborn, who are (even, also) once to live, is the condition (of) breath a while.

11. Consider: (once-upon-a-spacetime) I who made this did so breathing. As do and may you do now, receiving it.

12. For the entire duration of spacetime, the condition (of) breathing is (equals) the common miracle.

From IMAGEMS (primary texts on poetry and breath)

Richard Berengarten

Richard Berengarten

Richard Berengarten used to be known as Richard Burns, under which name he published more than twenty books of poetry. With the publication of For the Living: Selected Writings 1: Longer Poems 1965-2000 by Salt Publishing in 2008, he repossessed the family name of his father, the cellist and saxophonist Alexander Berengarten. He styles himself a European poet who writes in English and lives in Cambridge. He was born in London in 1943 and has lived in Greece, Italy, the UK, the USA and former Yugoslavia, and has travelled widely in other countries. In 1975 he launched and co-ordinated the first international Cambridge Poetry Festival. His poems have been translated into more than 80 languages. He is a Bye-Fellow at Downing College, Cambridge and Preceptor at Corpus Christi College.

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