15-9-08 the release 257
Bitter it is to try to redo on the 15h what you instinctively wrote on the 12th, paralyzed by its loss, machine restored on the 13th, l4th wilful holiday, Monday duty resumed. With, perhaps, the added incentive of another Steven Weinberg paean to atheism, Without God, in the 15 Sept. NYR.
Tracing a path in a Buddhist garden in Kyoto, we looked back on eight years that separated us from a Methdist parsonage , free of creed, or religious identity, we sought to relate direct experience to its divine provision. Free to examine any definition, philosophic, or religious. We made the experience of Hellenic deity axial in our relinquishment of Christian instruction. There was never rebellion, anxiety—Hageman pacing the Charles River bridges meditating turning RC, our fathers classmates ´17 at Boston Theological, he who was to become President of the Dutch Reformed Church, USA:– never a sense of casting off a garment, or an identity.It dissolved of its own accord perhaps because it was worn lightly. Freshman year we went faithfully to chapel and Sunday service, sophomore year for our favorites,Tillich, Niebuhr, instinctive choice, we did not know their reputations. A major element was Homer, Greek tragedy, Pindar, Hellenic godhead. Not a question of conversion, but of god form´s relation to natural effect, to human motive, action. Pagan polytheism as a way out of Christian myth, or OT deity. There were two factors, how with the polytheistic vocabulary you learned to distinguish the personalities by their fields, where they commanded, what they enforced, the person, the deity worshipped not because god tout court, but for what she, he did. Then, too, the figures were from the start known to be imaginative constructs. You were studying a foreign culture and its way of formulating active life and its elements in relation to enduring sources of its defined effects, and you “believed in them” in so far as they illumined the natural or psychic effect. They were traditional—you knew nothing of sources—but they made cogent the meeting of disaster, stupidity, sea storm or sex subjection and named deity. Zeus of the Agamemnon, Oedipus fulfilling Apollo´s determination of his life, Helen or Sappho recognizing Aphrodite in submitting to desire, Achilles or Odysseus listening to Athena. Greek poetry dismissed Jehovah of patriarch or prophet, turned the Christian Trinity into artefice of as yet unknown composers.
Early, too, as sophomore, we read Xenophanes, the Greeks had realized gods were inventions, that they existed as man forms, composed in the image of their makers. All this absorbed, second nature by eighteen. Even so, detached from Christian myth and recognizing Hellenic myth as myth, like the subsequent Greek philosophers, we never for a moment assumed divinity was nonsense ,knew learning was bound to the edge of human/divine intelligence. Between our immersion in Gk.poetry and some Gk philosophy—AristNich Ethics and Rep 1 with Jaeger—our only study of Buddhism and Indian philosophy, a few histories, text books in Delhi. We regret to this day not purusing both at length—going back say,´46, to take a degree under Nock in Hist. of Religions—to have worked directly with original texts of thought as divine enactment, or freeing the self from self. For all the charm of Dai Nippon, it had no monuments to match India´s Buddhist painting sculpture, Ajanta, Muttra´s Gandhara forms- fascinated, of course, by the Hellenic/Indian bonding. India the Hellas of Asia. India font of philosophy and religion—disclosing a hidden thought, somehow the Hellenes must be major for Christian myth and god bonding. The unknown temples of the South, add Muslim art and architecture, Tuglac and Mongol,and you have the richest treasury.It is to an English two volume textbook on Buddhism I owned my only instruction,. I did, too, manage to get a private showing of the Sir Aural Stein silk screens etc from Tibet stored in Delhi Our life of the surface, dilettante., underneath lessons in skeining that surface to bring the fibres of effect beyond our will, our single witness. To be in on things.
Kyoto was Buddhist, in the present, beautiful, loveliness keeping us content with the surface, like Christians believing by the sensation of great naves,great music, undeniable testimony of a great construct. Delight remains.But not as a way to heaven. Especially if heaven is to be with us now, in mortal state. I would have known in tht Kyoto garden that I did not understand Buddhism,nor how enlightenment was achieved, that years of study would be needed to break the surface. I might have thought back to India,which I had left nine months before, as setting forth what would have to be learned in Japan, what I did not know,and monks nearby would not recall. On one of my flights over the Hump I had been briefly in Gaya,its airport as close as I would come to the tree under which the Master had sat. What startled me was the view of the glistening white Himalayas, suddenly recognizing how northern the Founder had been. Reading I had never tried to place him, now I bound him to snow mountain peaks, related him to northern Greeks, to North Italy,France and Switzerland. That rare stop,like the image of a great stone wheel, and Asoka´s bringing Empire under the cult, all this had to happen for distant Honshu to build temples with such fine proportions. Necessary history,that would naturally define the place, and we plagued by ignorance of what had been transmitted from one land to another, ideas , their original definition,and mastery of them.
- What likely did not come at all, was knowing what we had to accomplish on our own, garden pleasure could not give,or study either. Christian,Hellenic,Indian as Japanese, appreciation. There had been no struggle, no anti-Christ, no restoration of reality.The Greek lessons were vivid, experience commanded, but done for us The Buddhist atmospheric. There was no connection between any of them and the war just finished, the spirit and mores of the conquerors, nor of divinity to sex in body and image blasting.No sense of the millions dead, death or new wars in the making. Admiration of ancient thought had not made us think,nor variety of divinity demand understanding what was divine,and how every moment derived from and was expressive of it. There was no hint of that in the Kyoto garden. What was lacking there what we need to answer the Weinbergs, Emerson-instructed, Nietzsche accepting, Dickinson and Whitman illumined
7-10-08 trying to restore subject 282
A machine not working has led the machine that guides it,mind , to lose command. We first wrote a page, Fiction as reality, when it got swallowed by the non-printing machine,we tried hurriedly to rewrite it as , fiction, to tell it like it is, fearing that the title somewhere registered would make impossible retrieval under that title , as has happened with our recent, Sing,Goddess, now lost, and rewritten as sing, Tell me,Mousa, but we could not continue.It did not recapitulate the ink-lacking Sing,Goddess, that could not be copied. Now we find, fiction, to tell it like it is, has lost our story line, its argument and we are as almost as helpless to retrieve it as to restore printing to immediate copy, or restore retrieval to past titles, the archive printing instead its own choice of listed titles. Inability to compose added to personal problems foretells despair What follows is “practice” writing, to see if the machine will print it,or its registry,guardar, makes it retrievable by title..
- Our subject,of course,is too ambitious.We find our comments on Homer are much better as exposition of passages, as revealing compositional motive, than as contribution to disclsing how such art leads to tragic agones,political debate, or god save the mark, natural philosophy , though we do believe that the art,guided by the reality principle,ande working on means to subject traditional mythic components to it discloses the “Ionian mind” that does present the natural philosophy in the next century,if not in the following generation.Implicit in this argument our view,not repeated this time round.of the lateness of our versions of ILIAD ,ODYSSEY.If they reflect late Attic rhapsodes at the point of the Peisistratean written transcription, their last stage would be contemporary with that new way of thinking.In no case earlier than 7th Cent Ionia the 600s. (I still remember Whitman´s Geometric Homer,way off the mark, nor do I know where Nagy and gang date our rescension, only that they have it in continuous development ) Yet date is not itself important,if what we want to elicit from compositional practices is experience is conscious effort to construct experience based modes. None is more salient than dialogue, speakers in debate,Achilles/Agamemnon/Nestor in the opening Briseis quarrel, the Embassy speeches in 9, Hector/Andromache, war honor vs.family, Hector/Achilles, Achilles/Priam. It is the speakers who decide the issues, so we may say action is presented as result of imagined mind,will,,not by reciting poet.At a distance, not becase the poet “knows” what happens but because he wants to show it happened,under what stress, b y what intentions.He must present opposing views by clashing wills.We are in the realm of psychic definition, to dilineate separate dispositions on any occasion. Such debate portraiture is experience derived.Its artistic projection is wholly imaginative, fictional characters in fictional siuations, but the tradition demands reality-principle governance of imagined performace..Tha is why the epic debates are as moving,subtle convincing as those of Attic tragedy and Shks. That could not be true,unless they were composed under the same experence drawn pressure as those others. Here in critical decision for action determined by reaction portraye, far from any simple recital of heroic performance we have evidence of the principle of naturalism, which leads among other things to late 6th and 5th Century sculpture—a connection I earlier made that may seem extravagant.
- Not so,if we stop to consider that the debates issuing in action have had to be composed, that they are conscios constructs, that a way had to be found to portray distinct points of view and thereby the personalities expressed in them, just as the new sculpture had to devise the means that showed the figure subject to gravity , the limbs naturally proportioned with natural musculature or that revolution we pose two components ,the desire to make the art form represent intimately natural form , and the ability to devise the means for such such one-to-one representation. We see Homeric debate under the same pressures, to show how men in such critical moments did speak, and able to come up withthe means for their representation. Our time propinquity seems then mor likely. The same motive is working,the new means to meet it being constructed, in both cases changing extant traditions .Whereas with statuary, we have different pieces in time´s sequence to date development and mark the technical transformations, with poetry we have the prior and subsequent in the same package. In continuous oral tradition the new is manipulation of the received, Extant statuary can not be trimmed or recarved to new insights ,new angles, stand free from two feet together to one advan ced before the other or leave stiffness to bend and show back muscles in tension. A new work must beging with new motive, means. Withlong tranmitted epic we do have inherited material under continuous change, though the one we pinpoint,experience, its representational modality, is likely a sudden major revolution, like Donatello/Masaccio one spring morning 1406. What we look for are the precise elements of representation brought into traditional lists, geneologies, warkillings, or psychic representation introduced into mythic adventure, like Polyphemus being asked as he cries out his pain, Who is hurting him, replying Outis, Outis , as the name of his aggressor This is a vast subject, identifying new and old, or old presented in new guise. Instead we point to a principle, variety of point of view, its presentation as a new mode.Council argument dialogue ,but also contrsting cultures, manners, speech, a direct connection between divine intervention and natural psychic representation . the theme of God as Form, whereby,we hold, the change from mythic person to pressure rendered as natural continuum is opened. For we are reading Ionian Homer as the forerunner of the Ionian Revolution, presenting its principle in its new art elements.
11-9-10 communitas 288
Nancy´s mistaken conflation of democracy and communitas—as if the Roman Empire were not a communitas, with nary a hint of democracy,and in its first years did not Der Fúrher establish a strong sense of communitas. ?
But its Christian significance strikes me as disclosing several quite different aspects of communitas, and I will use them to combat the absurd representation of original, and developing Christainity now assumed in Christian criticism. First, the cult and its rites were the axis of communitas, the small group that defined their unity,its content,and the attitudes required for its upholding. Christainity was the cult of Christ, as the very term makes clear. Which excludes forever the “Judaic sect” now portrayed from Durham, N:C,Durham ,England, not to speak of B:U;Princeton,etc,etc. Internally,that means identification with Christ,god son, the immortal self with which each cult member identifies,and by their mutual identification, each as other as Christ´s subject. Christ was an individual,not a Jewish category, though I recently ran into a CBQ article reclaiming Paul as reading Jesus Christos as Messiah, as in NTS I read the farthest out amalgamation of warring sects, hence incompatible communities claiming Paul´s new Israel is really old Israel, as well as the ferequent Protestant insistence that Paul required works as well as faith for salvation.. Faith some forty years ago I defined as “identification with”, and make that pivotal,of rite and cult,dying and rising with Christ.Incidentally, reiterating here my insistence,Paul preaches,he does not create Christian belief, he is , must remain our best source of the earliest cult and communitas,, the next best source, theological,not narrative portions of John, the earliest gospel, written for the whole community,not a special Christian sect—as you will hear time and again.Also we are told the gospel makes this sect´s struggle with Judaism reflected in its account of the original mission of Jesus in conflict with the Temple. As if the Jewish establishment did not condemn Jesus to death for apostasy (of which he was glaringly guilty), and see that he was put to death. Paul is our witness not only to the Jews putting Jesus to death, but,in his own person, joining the effort to root out the Christian heresy, expel,and even beat the Jesus-believers, those with faith.
Which is to say, the Judaic and Christian communitas are at war from the beginning. We accuse of misreading,dishonest omission,commision,of those who have made the Christian cult Judaic—the cult of Christ´s blood drunk,his flesh eaten in Holy Communion. No Jew could be baptized unto Jesus,as Father,Son,Holy Spirit (I also read a recent HTR article of the neoEvangelical restoration of Oneness as against the historic Trinity. The Trinity is later than early cult practice, the persons have become distinct as well as, against reason, unified,and Oneness as doctrine of current Evangelicals new heresy.But it does revive the pre-theological stage where if, inherent, there is no spelling out of a Triune Body,and for the early cult,as for the Evangelicals Christ is the center. I repeat, Christianity is the cult of Christ Jesus, the Rock of ages, the Logos of life. The Christian cult is not a worship of YHWH whose Sonship parallels Israel as Son ( another CBQ article ) or of Jesus preaching the triumph of YHWH and true Israel restored. (This would take us into Jesus´teaching, which dos not concern itself with Israel,or with Christianity,either. Jesus taught Life from the Father,only later amalgamated with YHWH, the life of perpetual divine expression, which requires no cult,and in time will be submerged by it ) The cult is posthumous, “in his name”, cultic apotheosis of the slain teacher become man as god, savior of those who believe in him. Only later the composed restrospective miracle worker, god power proved, only later the resurreection—how it was the executed Jesus (crucified or stoned) had become the unifying(each man or woman his subject )identity. had become the God Son,and Pneuma of the now active cult.
- The cult was the original communitas, remains the basic Christian means of unity,communitas—one issue where the Catholic tradition is truer to the Beginning than the Protestant equality of Scripture. The imaginative placing of the new cult in Judaic tradition, the testimonia (to display not dependence or derivation but origins fulfilled) comes in the growth of the cult nto a social power, competing first for Judaic allegiance, and then Gentile conversion. At no time, even with their appropriation of Judaic history, experience,and continuity, did the new enlarged communitas, unlike current writers, confuse their own and the continuing Judaic communitas, nor read Christian belief in Judaic terms.Christ as God Son,as Israel ! What´s become of the Annunciation ? Like all religions Christianity is mythical, wondrous non-natural events, what is revealing in Christian history—as fact,not myth—is seeing openly the composition of myth. How much later Luke´s composition or adaptation ,the Annunciation, than anything Paul preached, or Mark relayed—where the Sonship is twice announced by God´s voice,both at Baptism—a Markan c omposition or adaptation—and at the Transfiguration, also likely earlier than the Empty Tomb narrative, pre-empting its function, turning the now extinct Jesus into the everliving God Son of cult, the pivot of the new communitas.. The distance between Jesus´teaching and death and the creation of the cult makes emphatic the distance between Jesus Teacher and Paul´s mission for the Redeemer. He did not know him,or know the stories about his life ,composed by the gospels, from which he is far removed. There is another passed over distance, between early Christian myth in John and Mark and the late mythical scenes, the very fabric now of Christain cult, in Luke, where Annunciation,Nativity, Pilate´s Judgment Resurrection, are for most Christian history. All composed later. And the infants John and Jesus together, a mythical composition building up the original composition of Mark´s Baptism.Not fact, but message, the transformation of a pagan rite, death as initiation,into a Judaic-derived ceremony.
- It is, however, impossible to remove the ingrained notion of gospels as history to recover the basic cult formation. Another historical “construction” also must one day be unraveled, the foundation and primacy of Christian Rome. Nor Paul nor Peter, nor Mark set foot there, and most of the early history is retrospective. Even as late as Augustine is it the Center, any more than Milan, or distant, now almost mythical Jerusalem ?
28-6-10 It can not be said 185
It can not be said, butit can be known,if what se say takes you into the other world, where everything you see here has b een arranged
If she should die before she wakes, six or twelve,some bigh after the old petition, God her sould would take, we would know not only sould,mind and speech,cut curls,and grace, and watching gaze were formed by the untouchable coalescence of particles to make the body,mind,and will. From elsewhere. Those who do not, that stark morning, apprize the otherness of everything she was and what has happened to her, can not in her life,now taken away—wesay—the eternal formation exhibited here, and everywhere besides. Formation as such you can not explain. It´s the law of the land,of the globe, of all the worlds beyond our sight.Without itno explosion could have led to all the particles dancing in every natural form,.So formation, the idea of formation is hung up to dry.emptied, drained,now specimen, when the girders of its kind dissolv e and as entity it is lost ,out of time.
And consciousness, who claims its invention, who using it marvels at its reaction and binding of whaever is in small space to be read again and again by machinery provided for reading things ? Does not the girl´s consciousness now seem like a miracle, wafted by sytem into articulate response, looking out,taking in,arranging,and knowing,mom from pop, and the pool from the orchard or road ? And now it is irresponsive to every butterfly and bird, the neighbor´s dog, an expected rendezvous with two pals. Empty,dissolved. While it lzsted does it nor reflect consciousess everywhere from scampering cockroaches to sniffing rodents to the dsigner of San Lorenzo or the Baptistry of Sta Maria degli Fiori? Wherever is the thought that materializes as consciousness, wherever the original design for inherent response, assimilation, reaction of severql kinsds ? And what is lacking for those who can not look through such art,such aretefice, to another world,and its unknown thoughts, its unknopwn swerves, its crouching intents, its own formation from which will break these formations we marvel at—especially some lovely human self and mind interrupted while dawning to the new forms,new pressures set for reply. From her emptiness we construct by contrast the vivid reaction of her classmates exemplfying,eac h, the wondrous reach of perception no one bothers to tell them about. The other world where perc eption was decided on,proved,and provided every living creature who uses it without any sense of its provision at all. How the fear of superstition, or the unthinkikingness of systematic practioners have dissolved the natural world´s own representation of the hidden wills and secret signs of theior own formation,functon, disslution—thereby showing everything they are was provided, they its instruments, but the provision and the inner brief of its articulation are left unthought, unappreciated, cutting off man, woman,child from the wonder working outside space and time,driving together by design what isz spcifically constructed here and now, in materials we can analyze an d value,in time we can measure, but not in the breeze, or the soft-voiced funeral open to the august minding contriving,dismissing eerything we are,look at, and love.
If it can not be said, defined, then it can not for us be known, as self,orgnization,or eve a set of rules, assumed directions, nor in this short life, should Aquinas,Descartes and all theorist helps us. It is known by helplessness—did Plao ever indlude that—known by what happens we ca not figure out, its provision a mystery,its proper recognition a problem. Our instinct belongs with those who begin with the grass which grows, the hair on mens´chests, thethe raisesd stones in MTAuburn, Adam´s extended left hand, images of the sensed drawing mind through its specicity to the insensible collocation of what we use, we who are discarded like everything else. Which we should not teach the twelve year old child, the kind who will live another day to wear crisp cotton and tkae it off to swim. Mercilessness to the most gifted or lovely inhaitants, without a motive, or a cure AAlone, alone in the accident of effe ct, the demolisment of design—making aharp again, we repeat, the coming into being from elsewhere of every pair of bright eyes, or the mind rejoicing in the company it keeps.
12-11-10 There must be a way 347
There must be a way the wonder appears from Teresa´s presence, known so long care is assumd, life assured.. Every day impression, , not knowledge—she might jump off a bridge any day,and we swallow the life ending tablet—but such impression from the primed, attentive, distant girlhood, we could use to grasp, epiphntes, the bolt passed through her from heaven asured of its bright handiwork. Then we would assume relation to source, idea, realization Join the company of the re-assured, that presence instills wonder, effect beyond holding,losing, brought into the world on its own.Wrapped in communication ? Strangers rather. Entertainment ? Her boredom is apparent, unbroken.Affection, maybe , but not transferable, made open medium, that sets the world apart for singular company. Instead hovering close to the intimacy of habit to touch what the morning light makes of morning icicles hanging from black branches, natural lights that presume the source of light-amd-life, and our self-declared generation ..To keep the power in mind shown up in every pedalist, twig,blossom, running elk or hidden hibiscu fresh in the ground,or thundering over it.We can´t be entertained now; we´ve lost the innocence of rejoicing,and watch the armed nations moving towards Armageddon. (No one mentioned,least of all stood silent at 11-11-11 here yesterday, but JOhn Bolton roared we had to keep our nuclear arms ,everyone, or lie naked to our enemies. How those who want to destroy must manufacture danger over the horizon) The world whirls to new disaster, yet we ask for peace and confidence from the sun lighting petals, or a girl of seventeen,bound in regret ,unhappy, as instance of the coming to presence, which when known , silences protest, so much has been accomplished..
We can never reach out,open arms, to some asumed Presence for presences ,but pull up attention for a sense of Its developing beyond our act,might, even knowing,and awake we must daily return to a depth of perpetual effects, ordered, developing, its blind subjects, eating for life, then killing others for self-expression. The damned, the ever bruising damned, murder, starving, outlawing, indifference to the havoc of recession, the unlearned in hovels, the killed off rebels, the deprived slaves or servants. Unaware of the light, unburned in the fires.Happy,so happy, lodged away behind gates, as the workless, become worthless,move from unpaid homes to homelessness. This pror to their cheering on the nuclear explosions guaranteeing their safety, not knowing the clouds from elsewhere will cloud the sun of enjoyment, whose independent power they neve noted.. In our isolation , living off bits of adjacent figures, through whom we seek the bolt of creation holding chin,limbs, seeing eyes, insecure without communicators, the discontent if projected from a voice of helplessness to the system of money,goods,and armaments guarnteeing the turmoil that brings on the suffocation, the general suffocation we suffer in the small, as each joy withers, each hope is negated, and the effort to turn an immediate presence into premonition of the grandeur of making, the celebration of thought as creation is spent in empty rooms,and silence As if the careing were carried away on a sled like our corpse, tagged with its disposition, having been denied the living entrance into relation to source as sun, divine mind making, willy-nilly, no matter what that species, man, arranged for injustice or destruction
11-11-10 Away and away 345
Away they went, away they went too fast. We never got the act as act, not sure if primed or distraught, how they fitted the careening car,or chariot,or sled,no idea where they would end up,or when the next pair,or next gang would shove off, into adventures we would never see out .Never really in touch, never absorbing what was presented,making it out,by image or definition living unto the living and how they carried it out. Consciousness, Emerson says, that´s what counts, but the motions of men,on trips,making love, moving to assualt—we wére not on the scene,and if a horse race, we only have a picture of the nervous beast in the winner´s circle. Or the pronouncement of the head of Citigroup,not the manoevers from the first bow as youngster,to tracing a path,leaving a file gunned down by antipathy,or doubt, or mistakes. Least of all do we ever follow the diagrams,the fitting of force and effect of any discovery announced,physic, mathematics,or the color tones of Matisse. We don´t know what its about, any effect, any songbird singing or electric train gliding to a stop. Nor the cover of company,so it doesn´t matter what´s going on,or how arranged to become instrument,of travel,of law,of gardening,self to self pleasing as meeting, passing the word, seeing to the trip, all that matters, not needing to trace a divagation,or understand how we get there.
Consciousness,Emerson mutters, not Christianity, but believers follow made up tales, imges, acts, as the truth on which universe turns, death,birth are read, and money parceled out. They are conscious,of simple arrangements guaranteed by use,reassuring retrospective of holding effects—imagined made-up, that the center , while how their bodies perform,or are made to,and by what enforcement, the necessities of generation and death, necessary death ,stands to one side of graven images,and imagined Persons holding every iota of effect in mind and under clamps. The hour´s event, fresh in line, pumping heart or blood surge over mind to blank it out, what,in fact,is determined and by invisible patterns, regular,or spelling final irregularity. They,too,are left out, while conning a spiritual take that makes its pitiless lines irrelevant. The self as wrapt to an ongoing marvel, the seeker or of a new world in this can call faith.
We would grow asparagus and orchids—loved as a child as lady´s slipper or wild streaked iris, or the singularity of scapula or nipple, delved in dirt,or lighted by a leaf bent sun,as if the scene were “called”, called to consciousness by its living part, its firm idenities under the light. A garden of delights, Eden without history,or Satan,or god trying men, What´s on trial is the support of fresh flowers in the shade or bushes growing high to keep the world out, so consciousness has no tasks, no need for inventions, or late in life analysis of courses, developments, how what bloomed bloomed, left seeds and was scattered, falling leaves to dust.Shelley in the Cascine invoking the West Wind of fading,returning nature to assure his psychic response, agitated by failing as singularity the grasp of even sure performance—as thou art–. The natural cycle will endure, time out, when his carved out heart is placd high in a wall , a Protestant wall in a city of priests. To be drowned out, unable in the flood to distinguish sky and sea or a mate´s fury for being dragged out in a storm. Do we make the storm,the natural storm supreme,our theme,or the futile but once curving mind unable to maintain its equilibiru,its clear sight, its fervid mind ?
We retun to our dumb estate, envious even of grand failures,of mind ., life shoving us into our incapacity to see what it´s about,how it works, yet always returning to the marvel of even stating that.,the natural capacity so say its so,or name a robin on the grass, a lark spiralling up , non-comprehending,but equally incomprehensible as self at the center of failure, the centering awareness of what´s not been seen or understood .
9-11-10 Reservations 343
It was, surely,Maureen Dowd´s response—not a review but the weirdness of it all—to George W´s first memoir, Great Decisions, that brought him into our dream The prestige of an ex-President who was taking great pleasure, in what would hve been ours, teaching a course in Greek lyric poetry.Strangely the most important poet whose name stood like a heavy l8th Century harp,not an ancient lyre, as if his name or person were that slanted instrument, cenral bridge for lesser poets right or left.Hyperides ? Or Hypermerides.? He was the sweetest, most enchanting and though others known filled the arc, though they were not given names , we just assumed their presence, we spent our dream thought, response on a poet we could not identify. Our emotion was of pride,and envy, too, pride that such a public figure should choose, reveled in the music, words, life response of Greek lyric verse, enied that we had not been called to such a course. Gathered here the curse which had separated us—and was not George in Texas where it took place ?—from our prime day pleasure, teaching kids Greek.Wehad revived a continuous dream theme,our loss of function as teacher, would-be professor of ancient Hellas, sometimes ,often, being considered for a post, or as here, denied, some one else elected to that delightful task.
But never before a philistine President who had never learned enough Geeek to read Xenophon,or Latin to read Virgil.Maybe no smattering at all, whatever Andover offered
Was not his irrelevant prestige a silent argument for our destined work, leaving aside all I had been regretting of not facing up to the day by day discipline of original labor, trying to find justice in the chaos of actual politics, or eliciting the final fibres of religious awe as the many dead fill our day hours in their burial rot as cessation of vivid articulation, that only fresh flowers,not in mind,but as colored fact, can compenste,or carefree children shouting games, world wonder, effervescence doomed to darkness, to make us tremble at the evermoving machine, coming into divine tourbillion, at the very hour the ornate Pope comes to take Spain back to Francoist Catholic supremacy,or the darkness of Philip II extolling Teresa,Loyola. His vulgarity,his aggression as devout !.But we had not followed the path to the inner route under the bower of hate and death,Iraq,Palestine,Stalin´s hordes or the Holocaust, or the more convincng abolishment of supporting psyches, communicating friends. These jobs we had evded, undisciplined, heedless for pleasure, forgetfulness, requiring an immerion and then defining expression that the restful externalization of cultivating Greek art, Greek thought ,the delineation of poetry par excellence. Our enforced exclusion from that work, that life , should have been the spur to the greater, less comforting task,speech as definition of conditions exhumed for rehearsal, confirmed imagery, experience as significance.
The same evening´s reading pressed an example on our attention, William Dalyrample´s review of Bruce Chatwin´s letters in the TLS.Now we´have never read Chatwin, fasxcinted by his beauty,his waywardness, his travails in hard travels, suspicious ever of what we might find as opaque reference passing for layered learning, rare artefacts as glamor in place of tradition which must be expressed.Or say,Whitman,Stevens, stay at homes, the Concord crowd of genius feeding one another amid farms,forest,river,lake, the common works. Yet one choice Chatwin made again made us shamefaced Givig up a top jop at Sotheby´s made sense.It was art as commerce, after all, suffocation by turnover, not continuous rapt study of the same pieces leading into the hall of art And that rapid rise ,how much ws due to beauty, and rapture of it in bed. ? But the next choice, to give up profitable journalism for travel, writing as individual voice , attendant poverty,and early putdowns, that was strength, self-awareness—the kind lifelong we lacked—that issued as his writing,his books, his fame, gamble that paid,but a choice disclosing something beyond,if not apart from his intense sexual skating, even some lust of his era spelling death. Mistake ? Mayb e not.after all . He lived to forty-nine, and his original gift and its articulations was running out.This is no Keats or Lawrence, C hopin, s Dalyrimple´s estimating the loss ahead of a gifted lot, a friend´s dismay, perhaps even an early lover´s farewell. I have read Thesiger (one of those listed as lesser), between the lines and straight.If he´s better than that I should travel with him a space. What I do respect—envy—is the giving up the easy for the difficult, becoming a writer with a style. Whatever it may have told we honor what we could not do.