by Richard FeinIn Re The Prefix Re
I will iterate my reiteration,
though this be redundant repetition.
How we recoil at the redaction of the prefix re,
retreating into remorseless restatement,
with renewed reemphasis on what we stated anew.
Reference to Webster reveals iterate as a synonym for reiterate,
but reiterate is repeated more often,
even though iterate is reduced by a syllable
and thus easier to restate.
We're so reluctant to have our point missed or rebutted
that we repeatedly pound our point home
resulting in our remarks regressing into a recumbent dullness.
Reciting poetry requires a fierce economy of words.
One must often rewrite and reflect while reworking ones rhymes;
nevertheless, poetry often relapses into a prolixity of restatement
for with each revision there is a reprise to the theme
that the poem resolves to reveal
by reechoing and reduplicating the same pivotal line
or slightly rephrasing when reusing it.
Ah, but iteration is the resource for fractals.
And fractals are the algorithm for replicating a crystal,
that symmetrical complex of recursive simplicity.
There's a snowflake beauty in the restructuring of words or
for there's resplendent poetry in both.
Reference - (is that really a "re-" word?)
(Somebody had to do that.)
What I'm taking away from Mr. Fein's opus is a RE-minder to be aware that not only each word but every SYLLABLE carries meaning, which can be lost if we use it without consciousness.
English is NOT the only language with the "re" problem (if we allow it to be a problem). Italian is full of re-verbs that mean almost the same thing as their roots--exactly the same thing if you throw them around indiscriminately. "Al rivederci" (until I re-see you) -- almost the same as "Al vederci" (until I see you), but Italians don't say that.
The opening, and the very last line, of Dante's INFERNO contain re-verbs (I'm writing from memory here and possibly misspelling a bit):
Beginning: "...mi ritrovai per una selva oscura" (I re-found myself in a dark woor). This is usually translated as "I found myself in a dark wood."
Very ending: "... al riveder le stelle" (... to re-see the stars).
And inbetween there are gazillions of re-verbs in the INFERNO. You could argue that RITROVAI and RIVEDER were chosen to fit the meter or for no special reason, but I think Dante was VERY aware of his word choices. He could have solved the meter problem any number of ways.
I think he is implying, in these choices, that the entire INFERNO is a cycle that has happened before--a snake with its tail in its mouth, as 'twer--and the stars that are seen AGAIN at the end of the book are seen from a dark wood where "I" find myself AGAIN.
(Yes, I admit it -- that's a summary of a paper I wrote in college.)
ANYWAY, the point I'm feeling here is that words with and without the "re" prefix aren't interchangeable unless we let them be, and that means settling for one word when we could have two.
If anyone wants to butt this or hash it, please do so soundingly, but spectfully.
Hmmm. For a little laxation try vising it thus:
I will iterate my iteration,
though this be dundant petition.
How we coil at the daction of the prefix re,
treating into morseless statement,
with newed emphasis on what we stated anew.
Ference to Webster veals iterate as a synonym for iterate,
but iterate is peated more often,
even though iterate is duced by a syllable
and thus easier to state.
We're so luctant to have our point missed or butted
that we peatedly pound our point home
sulting in our marks gressing into a cumbent dullness.
citing poetry quires a fierce economy of words.
One must often write and flect while working ones rhymes;
nevertheless, poetry often lapses into a prolixity of statement
for with each vision there is a prise to the theme
that the poem solves to veal
by echoing and duplicating the same pivotal line
or slightly phrasing when using it.
Ah, but iteration is the source for fractals.
And fractals are the algorithm for plicating a crystal,
that symmetrical complex of cursive simplicity.
There's a snowflake beauty in the structuring of words or
for there's splendent poetry in both.
Grettably not fulgent, I grant, and sulting in some lines to be jected, but the mainder can be tained gardless.
Ian, that's great!
You should send that to Richard Fein!
Precisely, there is a difference in feeling between doing something for the first time and every subsequent occurence of the same act.