Thursday, September 07, 2006


There's an awful lot of poetry. I try to read some of it. The window is narrow, letting in a narrow beam of light. Much leaves me cold, puzzled: in incomprehension. This is not a disappointment. It can sometimes be as if one is witness to remnants: someone has gone out to buy canvas, paint, brushes, thinner and brush cleaner, with a determination to paint a memorable scene, then, when the times comes to cover the canvas, the imagination and skill have evaporated.


I have read about Rilke and stood besides his statue at the Hotel Reina Victora in Ronda on an unforgettable, bright autumn day, trying to persuade myself - seemingly imperative because he was a renowned poet - I might understand and appreciate his poetry. An example of his ouvre popped out of the web the day other but left me cold. I knew the territory but could not identify the cities and towns and mountains; I recognised the the keywords. My brain filled in the gaps with my own words, but that is not a poem by Rilke.

I had the overwhelming urge to bring him back, sit him down and say: "Now write it another way. He might insist - was he that difficult a man? - those were his words and must be taken or left.


This comes from personal experience: skylarks, a church spire wind-turbines in the mist on Blood Hill, caused me to think out a short piece of verse. Back home a few hours later it had all gone except keywords then hurriedly written down on numbered lines where they might possibly fit. No matter how hard I try, when coming across these disjecta membra, sufficient and appropriate words to fill in the gaps never come or are anything as good as the ones I know I mumbled on a beach 15 or more years ago. When I think then of that spot as experienced, the sensation of the pleasure of realisation, recognition, conjunctions, knowledge are still there but not the words.


A commonplace: most poems come out ready made. The person who knows this keeps a pen and paper at the bedside.


It is said - a late lesson for me - understanding poetry is not neccesarily the first essential. Perhaps being impressed by it might be a safer route. Poets often put down words -- many of us do it; we all do it once or twice -- in a stream, then spend an eternity paring and paring the adjectives.


That appealing idea of poetry being like a good index to an book.


Flaneur by Mark Scroggins. Is it good or is it bad? I have no idea. I liked the title because I had been introduced to the term flaneur on a previous occasion and been mildly intrigued. Wiki:flaneur
Review (short): James V. Werner. American Flaneur: The Cosmic Physiognomy of Edgar Allan Poe. New York: Routledge, 2004.
Modernity and the flaneur academic notes

Check out the site. I came across this by Edmund Hardy, Aristotles' Styles: On Memory, which felt as if it might help me.


It is my duty to know what I don't know, in the hope it will increase my knowledge. Flaneur the poem and flaneur the term came my way in desperate attempt to 'speed date' the literary theorists. Things have got behind.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Site Feed