Dirty Gerty's Hurdy Gurdy


Only the poem knows what's true

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Voices of Aphorisms...

Before I progress, tonight, I must affirm that my blog from last eve was inspired by an interview Rebecca West gave with The Paris Review. Which leads me to this. History is very much a palimpsest. Our lives are written upon lives that have not been fully erased; by my estimation, what isn't erased is not our selection. We can preserve as much as we'd desire, and preservation is necessary. But, it is nature's aim that everything not be preserved collectively. Things are "erased," things fall apart, the center cannot hold (to quote Yeats, the fall apart and center cannot hold bit). And I think, things being collectively erased, only lends to the richness of individual heritage and culture. There are things only known by few, and this actually represents itself in nature, too. I don't mean to be dour, but when we decay, our bodies disappear, yes, but they are transformed. Matter is always conserved. Composing the universe invisibly; so, when we breathe, we are actually breathing and breeding our ancestry. What has come before us is thus endemic to the air, composing the world we see, but also digesting it, in a cycle where life and death try to meet at some point of resistance.

On another note, I was reading about WS Merwin. Who is one of my favorite poets, and still alive, mind you. I remember reading this poem he wrote about September once when I was shopping with my mom and sister. I found a seat in the store, and perused through it. And found it quite... magical. But the magic came to the point of sadness, after I read the last line, and saw when it was written or finished, a day before September 11, 2001. And it didn't make me think like Shelley, that yes, poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world. It more made me think that the precariousness is always there, as we all know. Much as the future roots the tree (of life, yes I'm utilizing a tree as metaphor for life, quite cliche (!) ), it can always be uprooted by the pressure on the trunk (the present).

Antonio Porchia had a quote, an aphorism, I adore. WS Merwin translated his book, Voices, (Porchia's). It follows:

Only a few arrive at nothing, because the way is long.

When I was reading Borges' interview with The Paris Review, he emphasized the beauty of a word no one has used. No poet, I mean. And that is "neverness."

It's a bit ironic, too, because Borges was purportedly a fan of Porchia (I just found out tonight), and Porchia's aphorism seems quite relevant to me at 11:20 on Tuesday night. If I've learned anything, from being physically ill, and mentally "ill," depressed (Major Depression), it's that something can come of nothing. It may have been said differently in King Lear (nothing can come of nothing, my favorite Shakespearean play, by the by), but all that we are is just that, nothing. Lorca wrote it so beautiful in his poetry. So many poets and thinkers have attested to it. The nothingness surrounding us; think, Wallace Stevens' Snowman nothingness. The seeming emptiness surrounding us, that has us take a handful of without to put it within. Sometimes when you're sick, and you're forced inward, you see, or at least hope, there's something akin to the "soul," what I call intrinsic possibility. And you begin to see this capability in everything, everything you see. The composition, the naturalness of nothingness. But it's so much more, too. It's a feeling, more than anything, one that leads to the greatest revelation, that all life is really death, and vice versa. And I realize, yes, this is all a bit quotidian or cliche, but, when something like this becomes real, palpable, you've grown a notch, I'd like to believe. And you begin to see that Wordsworth may have been right, much as you'd like not to admit, child is the father of man, thoughts too deep for tears, etc., etc., Because, there's something to be said about what you grasp when you're a child. Let me see if I remember a Spanish rhyme:

On children's lips the singing carries, a tale confused, but pain still clear, the way clear water carries a strain, of love long past, and leaves it unsaid.

That should about sum up what I feel and what I am thinking tonight. The particular rhyme just placed has intrigued me for some time. When I first read it, I was already in the throes of Lupus and Major Depression. So, I read it, and could feel every word and intimation. I think, when you find you can feel something to such an extent, that it brings you to tears, it avows my adage of poetry. Poetry as an invented instinct. It reveals to us what we already know. And when you can feel the growth and adaptation and despair of an artist, when you can feel Keats on the cusp of dying in Ode To A Nightingale, or feel J.P Jacobsen's despair couched in Niels Lyhne, you not only sympathize, and empathize, but visualize the capacity and scope of... nothing.

There's more sound in the still night air than there is in a thousand trumpeting horns; in silence you have the awareness of sound, in sound, you only have its absence.

Bonne Nuit!

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