One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Friday, June 30, 2017

"Clips" #1: Keats' Letters

Should've been reading Yeats in Ireland, I suppose. But, sort of aping last year's reading of Coleridge's Letters in Scotland, I went with Keats (not really into his poetry, but his letters are quite poignant -- especially knowing the end of the story -- and at times quite interesting re content and language) because his letters are "new to me" and they were already drawing me in, i.e., I had already started them and liked them (Zagajewski had pointed the way). Though Keats occupied most of my reading time in Ireland (and of course the focus was "Seeing Ireland" not "Reading Keats"), I also continued pecking away at (deliciously pecking away at) Szymborska's poems.



You perhaps at one time thought there was such a thing as worldly happiness to be arrived at, at certain periods of time marked out, — you have of necessity from your disposition been thus led away — I scarcely remember counting upon any Happiness — I look not for it if it be not in the present hour, — nothing startles me beyond the moment. The Setting Sun will always set me to rights, or if a Sparrow come before my Window, I take part in its existence and pick about the gravel. The first thing that strikes me on hearing a Misfortune having befallen another is this— “Well, it cannot be helped: he will have the pleasure of trying the resources of his Spirit” —
 I have never had your Sermon from Wordsworth, but Mr. Dilke lent it me. You know my ideas about Religion. I do not think myself more in the right than other people, and that nothing in this world is proveable. I wish I could enter into all your feelings on the subject, merely for one short 10 minutes, and give you a page or two to your liking. I am sometimes so very sceptical as to think Poetry itself a mere Jack o’ Lantern to amuse whoever may chance to be struck with its brilliance. As tradesmen say everything is worth what it will fetch, so probably every mental pursuit takes its reality and worth from the ardour of the pursuer — being in itself a Nothing. Ethereal things may at least be thus real, divided under three heads — Things real — things semireal — and nothings. Things real, such as existences of Sun moon and Stars — and passages of Shakspeare. — Things semireal, such as love, the Clouds etc., which require a greeting of the Spirit to make them wholly exist — and Nothings, which are made great and dignified by an ardent pursuit — which, by the by, stamp the Burgundy mark on the bottles of our minds, insomuch as they are able to “consecrate whate’er they look upon.”

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