Archive | November, 2012

Elegant Purity and Essential Imperfection

28 Nov

Clear water in a brilliant bowl,
Pink and white carnations… one desires
So much more than that.”

One of the great poems of the 20th century, “Poems of Our Climate” [1] makes several trenchant comments on the contradictory aspect of humanity, — at least in cultures of aesthetics like the West. Among its most striking features is its painterliness. This recurrent aspect of his work may be taken as a sign of Stevens’ ‘imagism’ but this term begs the point of his deeper concerns with the nature of perception and the ability of the senses, mediated by language to depict and grasp “the thing itself,” the essence and being of an object, activity, character or experience. Continue reading

Thoughts for this Time

7 Nov

“Men must endure
Their going hence, even as their coming hither:
Ripeness is all. Come on.”

“The weight of this sad time we must obey;
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest hath borne most. We that are young
Will never see so much, nor live so long.”                       [King Lear 5.2.9-11; 5.3.323-26]