in the field more numerous
than I remember
I write about meaningless things or rather the meaninglessness of things because in order to “represent” how such things appear to me I have to dislodge them from the hierarchies and grammars of the every day world. The lilies of the field . . . The fall of a sparrow . . . .
It’s not to deny the archaeological or evolutionary narratives of things but to capture what is “excessive” in their appearance, their appearing, but we are used to think of this as Romantic or Mystical.
Put it this way: if all the discourses–the sciences — we have at our fingertips fail when we focus, say, on “the dandelions” in their bright numerousness, it may be that a certain degree of difficulty in representing presence must be admitted, and the tropes or turns of phrase, the rhythmic patterns, of poetry may be resorted to in this crisis of representation. The other commonly resorted to strategy is simply to say that THAT — presence, Milosz’s luminosity of things — is an illusion.
So is all this bother worth it? I think it is a matter of our concerns about the “self.” Poetry in this case speaks to the roots of the dialectical, erotic “self” that has a double structure of self/other. In distinction from the self of deconstruction, this self does not disappear into the other, but knows its limits in terms of the other. The problem of representation we have been discussing would be no “problem” if it were possible to erase the self. At the same time, one may say that there’s something “excessive” about the self.
The poem gives voice to this excess. Rowan Williams writes (The Edge of Words 134): “The simplest poetic forms have the same purpose at their heart — the contemplating of what seems normal in order to uncover what “normal” perception screens out.”