Friday, March 26, 2010

Among the Dogs and Dung

A brief poetical interlude here, while I get the material together for the real posts.

The late Wallace Stevens (1879-1955) was sometimes whimsical, often metaphysical, occasionally incomprehensible, and never pedestrian. The poem below is taken from the 1972 edition of The Palm at the End of the Mind:

The Glass of Water
by Wallace Stevens

That the glass would melt in heat,
That the water would freeze in cold,
Shows that this object is merely a state,
One of many, between two poles. So,
In the metaphysical, there are these poles.

Here in the centre stands the glass. Light
Is the lion that comes down to drink. There
And in that state, the glass is a pool.
Ruddy are his eyes and ruddy are his claws
When light comes down to wet his frothy jaws
- - - - - - - - -
And in the water winding weeds move round.
And there and in another state — the refractions,
The metaphysica, the plastic parts of poems
Crash in the mind — But, fat Jocundus, worrying
About what stands here in the centre, not the glass,

But in the centre of our lives, this time, this day,
It is a state, this spring among the politicians
Playing cards. In a village of the indigenes,
One would have still to discover. Among the dogs
         and dung,
One would continue to contend with one’s ideas.


Sol Ta Triane said...

Love it. Seems like Buddhism in a nutshell. To know one's metaphysical nature, to not cling to it's metaphysical abstraction, but rather stay and play in the mess of life.