Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sunday morning with Stevens

      It is agreeable to think
      of the poet as a whole
      biological mechanism and
      not as a subordinate mech-
      anism within that larger

  In any case, [analogies] are     the pictorializations of men,     for whom the world exists as a   world and for whom life exists   as life .. thus poetry becomes 

  and is a transcendent analogue   composed of the particulars of   reality, created by the poet's   sense of the world, that is to   say, his attitude, as he         intervenes and interposes the     appearance of that sense.

      A man's sense of the world
      may be only his own or it
      may be the sense of many
      people. Whatever it is it
      involves his fate..

      The measure of the poet is
      the measure of his sense 
      of the world and of the 
      extent to which it invol-
      ves the sense of other 
      people. We have to stop 
      and think now and then of 
      what he writes as implicit
      with that significance.

We question analogy's legitimacy far too unsympathetically, even while resorting to it far too uncritically, exactly as Stevens says, seldom for its implication of a fate which may not be one's own. It is proper to measure us as poets, and probably mistaken to presume we are not. A Sabbath for some, strikes one as the ideal day for reflecting on the condition of analogy in our discourse, where almost every reference point of any eschatological consequence is steeped in a more and more clotted, almost ethnic righteousness, of telling territoriality.

Inevitably a violence implicit in that character of biological mechanism involves no sense of other people, infamously rich as its sense of its own truly is. I find nothing exotic in the Netanyahu government's exuberant repression of Palestinians under the divine right of self-defense. It's the way my neigh-bors think, what they enjoy, what they queue for in Netflix.

This week, The Post published another shabbily shallow abuse of analogy against the Pres-
ident, as having no under-standing of war, for failing to favor it. This former toady to George Bush cited Sherman's tactics, as the sophisticated approach to a man's fate. That's not analogy. That's deception.

We see a page, full of analogies,
and if we find in them the death
of the soul, why on earth, might
that be? Is it possible, that we
are admonished so long, even in
scripture, to deny its domicile,
that a furious, clarion anguish
moves us to the sentimental fic-
tion of ever discovering it, in
unhallowable ground?

Wallace Stevens
The Necessary Angel
  Essays on Reality and
  the Imagination
    v The Effects of Analogy
Frank Kermode and
  Joan Richardson, editors
Collected Poetry and Prose
  In Memory of James Merrill
Library of America, 1997©

Eliot A. Cohen
Obama Does Not Accept War
  for What it Is
31 July 2014
The Washington Post©

iv  Salim Kechiouche
vi  Yosemite
     Copyright asserted

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