“(2) Floating meaning and grammatical function. Without traditional semantic (and sometimes syntactic) context, it is often impossible to determine a word’s meaning or grammatical function. This which was so kindly a present was constant: is 'present' a gift or the current time, or is it functioning adjectivally as a-present (like aplenty), so that the sentence suggests 'This which was so kindly here was constant'? There are tons of these. Is 'lead' a metal, or is it playfully suggesting the homophone 'led'? 'A dress' (address) ... 'a cracking' (get 'a-cracking') ... 'altogether' (all together) ... 'around' (a round).
“(3) Meta-metaphors. The poem TB is made of many particles, its sub-poems. The use of this is manifold, many-folded, like an origami creation. The syntax, through repetition and variation, continually folds back onto itself, and often the structure of the poems is almost literally many-folded, meaning we could literally take the paper the text is printed on and fold it to show interconnections. In suppose no other extract is permitted, is there a suggestion that each sub-poem, each extract, is a micro-embodiment of the goals, purposes, and methodology of the whole of TB? Is each sub-poem an extract biopsied from the whole with that very long slender needle so that reading it amounts to reading the composition of the macro-poem in micro?”
The structure of this sub-poem is, as in A RED STAMP., almost entirely conditional or hypothetical. If is the conditional signal there, also appearing here thrice, though suppose/supposing is the primary marker, appearing here ten times in this sub-poem. It is like a geometric proof that takes us from axiom to axiom or a scientific experiment that takes us from hypothesis through experimental steps to conclusion: (1) hypothesis; (2) assurance of universal applicability or practical application; (3-12) experimental suppositions or “steps”; (13) conclusion; (14) note about methodology."
"(1-hypothesis) Any neglect of many particles to a cracking, any neglect of this makes around it what is lead in color and certainly discolor in silver.
"(2- assurance of universal applicability or practical application) The use of this is manifold."
“Barbara, keeping my numbering system from my initial post (for ease of reference), I isolated the forms of the verb 'to be' and find they perfectly embody your idea that the long third sentence changes its hypothetical tone at the point where 'the rest of the message is mixed with a very long slender needle,' so that everything that comes before that sentence is a restriction ... but once mixing is introduced, the if's become more speculative .... Since in English we use past tense (If she were here ...) or infinitive (If that be the case ...) verb forms to mark the conditional subjunctive, tense shifts ought to illustrate that shift, and they do! To be verbs 1-6a (before needle) are all in the form of the indicative is. Post needle, we find largely the past was or infinitive be, and even in 'there certainly being,' we still have a conditional form ... until we reach the conclusion in (13), stated appropriately in the indicative present with is, followed by the simple indicative past tense in (14) with was. I didn't pay much attention to other verbs and verbals because the bare bones to be verbs largely carry tense and mood in this sub-poem.”