Tuesday, November 13, 2007

sorrow's springs

I did my little presentation on poetry and imperfection today. I hope L wasn't... offended or off-put. Because I just don't really know how I can engage with the idea of the perfect poem, or of what is beautiful to me--which was really the point, right?--without dealing w/ imperfection, temporariness, ephemerality, etc.

I felt like crying while reading the poems (not mine, 2 auden and 1 roethke. maybe I will post them) and pretty much couldn't even get thru the last line of my paper. then i went into my office and cried, for what (i agree with hopkins) is really the best and only reason: that everything i love and everything that is beautiful will pass away.

sorrow's springs are the same--yes. Loss is loss, over and over again, in different forms. I don't know about it being myself I mourn for--because I am very concerned over my own mortality, of course. And if I could live for a million years that would take a lot of the sting out of losing things, because I'd like to see what would happen. But I don't know, I think I could die in more peace knowing or believing that the things I loved would persist after me; that might be enough of a comfort.

Thinking of that James Dickey poem... while the notion of ceasing to exist, being unable to perceive anything, and moreover, unaware that you are unable to perceive anything--the idea of say, actually being killed and eaten by a wild animal holds no terror. I think I would be comfortable with going like that, actually. Not literally comfortable, because being chewed up is no doubt painful. But I could accept my end if it was at the hands of something beautiful that I respected, that overpowered me, and that I could help to go on.

Because I think of "immortality," persistence w.r.t. art--I have been terribly ambitious. I have burned to add something huge and lasting to stories, literature, etc. (I don't know how ambitious I am now, because I guess I feel like I have to do this, and will do this, regardless of the "rewards"). But I think I'd be okay with people not knowing it was *me,* or thinking someone else had done it, so long as something I created could persist.

Maybe this is just a translation of the reproductive urge, which thankfully I don't feel in a literal sense, or maybe, too, it's something less selfish--a desire to give something, a thing that will live and give back and exist outside yourself, for others besides yourself--that your life does not end when your life does, that you can affect things in a positive way beyond the span of your life.

Anyway, shit, I basically pulled a Margaret. Story of my childhood, if not my whole life. I meant the "sensitive poet" thing facetiously, but...shit, man.


and_dry_therain said...

Awww, Emily! You're presentation was so heartfelt and so well done, I can't imagine that anybody was off-put by it. Know that your earnestness and passion for words are always appreciated!

sensitivepoet said...

Aw, thanks, that does make me feel better. I was worried that maybe Laura was offended or something.