Poetic for the Day Two little poetics I have recently encountered “All of Us” by David Budbill Out of the undifferentiated Tao come the ten thousand things: the bug in the bird’s mouth, the bird in the tree, the tree outside the window, the window beyond the chair, the chair in the room, the man…
Imagining Better Worlds? Pessimism, Hope and Real Utopias I have recently been reading two books with hugely different claims. One is by by the arch conservative philosopher Roger Scruton; the other by a long dead and much admired Marxist, Ernst Bloch. The conservative is arguing for The Uses of Pessimism – the importance of pessimism…
I wake up most mornings with a deep sense of the multiplicities of things, and a bafflement at how we can ever comprehend any of it. I find Louis Macneice’s Snow quite inspirational.
The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.
World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.
And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes –
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one’s hands –
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.
the starry, starry skies
and the snowiness of snow.
the infinity of lists
and the galleries of libraries.
little lives too full to grasp.
legions of dead too lost to see.
a babel of language and love.
a topos of inexpressible ineffability,
ad infinitum, this pluralistic world
On Contingencies For many years I have been clear about the contingent nature of life- ever since (back in the 1970’s) I read the opening of a passage of Simone De Beauvoir’s All Said and Done. She writes: Every morning before I open my eyes, I know I am in my bedroom and my bed…I…