Friday, May 14, 2010

[Syntax overdose?]

Syntax trees sprout out of these sentences. Phrases grow toward the sun, with their roots in the words at the bottom. With every paragraph we utter, we plant forests of grammar-trees.

The syntacticians wander through the woods, wondering at the strange plants they find. Which surprising branches split and split again? Which twigs can we break off and take home? We will keep them in our pockets as charms against the beasts that might wander these dark woods.

The forest floor is strewn with the dried leaves of theories that once hung from these trees. Old transformational schemes crackle underfoot. Roaming about, we forget that under the ground there are real words, buried out of reach. The trees come to life: they are structure and shape, not dull diagrams. Growing far beyond the words they sprang from, the trees stretch skyward, and they branch and branch again. They explode out of the confines of minimalist theories, and into the blue space above. Their limbs reach for the light, like yearning arms. Twigs open outward, fingers ready to receive the sun.

As spring comes, who knows what flowers might blossom from these dry woods? And what mysterious fruit might follow? From these trees of words and ideas, understanding will someday grow.

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