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Am 30.08.2007 um 20:23 schrieb Chokh Raj:

> Thanks for your many painstaking observations, Diana.
>
> What I was pointing out to was something writ large
> in every word, every line, of this poem. Whether or not
> Williams willed it, it matters little to me. When a reader
> comes across a poem at random (and that's how I came
> it across), he doesn't go about asking if it has to be read
> in a specific way because the poet intended it to be
> read that way.
>
> I was just sharing a point of view -- a certain correspondence
> here in terms of the state of "the still point" of detachment
> from both pain (of "ringed, haltered, chained to a drag") and
> pleasure ("the sweet grass) which the bull exemplified.
>
> To me the poem can be taken as a profound comment on
> the human situation (metaphorically though).
>
> The bull is chained to a drag, a work he has perforce
> to carry out.
>
> However, he shows no signs of misery or pain -- he looks
> "godlike" in his demeanor.
>
> And, in the next stanza, he is not taken in either by the
> pleasing aspects of life ("the sweet grass") -- he takes them
> rather gingerly for what they are -- quite a wise and
> insightful bull ;-)
>
> In the next stanza, his carefree attitude is likened to a god
> on the Olympus -- looking at the world with "half-closed eyes"
> (reminds me of Yeats' philosophic Chinamen in 'Lapis Lazuli').
>
> The poet then talks of his inner solidity that relates to his
> outward shine.
>
> This hardness of substance, however, is not impervious to
> a sense of harmony/music playing through it.
>
> The single most important word that qualifies the bull
> (and the poet allows it full space) is "milkless".
> To me, milk is an emblem of the primordial bond that
> bonds a mother and a child -- perhaps one of the most
> potent of human bonds -- by being "milkless", the bull
> transcends this bondage -- hence he is "godlike" in his
> detached loneliness, and in his majesty.
>
> The last stanza presents the magnificence (and wisdom?)
> of an aged bull, his "eyes matted / with hyacinthine curls".
>
> This is the state of being idolized by the Bhagavad Gita,
> and this is the state Eliot's 'Four Quartets' aspires to.
> If William Carlos Williams was unaware of this aspect
> of the bull he painted, one can only pity him.
>
> Cheers!
>
> CR
>

Dear CR,

perhaps WCW chose the bull as a reminder that Zeus turned himself  
into a bull in order to woo his beloved Europe, who finally rode on  
his back.
  But even without that possible reference the poem is strikingly  
powerful.

Peace,


Gunnar