Absolute's paradox of silence and speech
 
an early experience of the Absolute:
 
"The seas of experience
 That were so broad and deep,
 So immediate and steep,
 Are suddenly still.
 You may say what you will,
 At such peace I am terrified.
 There is nothing else beside."
            ('Silence', 1910)
 
                                "I could not  
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither  
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,  
Looking into the heart of light, the silence."
           ('The Waste Land')
 
"Words, after speech, reach / Into the silence."
           ('Four Quartets')
 
CR

From: Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, September 22, 2011 3:40 AM
Subject: 'The Waste Land' as an 'absolutist' poem (was Re: Absolutist Poetry ...)

'The Waste Land' as an 'absolutist' poem
 
AND if the Absolute is so tellingly (if not terribly, with its DA Da Da) voluble at the close of the poem, asserting itself rather vehemently, so does it do as the poem unfolds at its outset:
 
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow  
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only  
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,  
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,  
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only  
There is shadow under this red rock,  
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),  
And I will show you something different from either  
Your shadow at morning striding behind you  
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;  
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
 
In fact, the Absolute looms rather large, making its presence felt across the wasteland's "panorama of futility and anarchy". It forms a constant backdrop to the drama that plays itself out rather grimly. And it (the Absolute) emerges from the backdrop to speak, now in this, now in that voice.
 
        Frisch weht der Wind  
        Der Heimat zu,  
        Mein Irisch Kind,  
        Wo weilest du?
 
HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME
 
Its "inviolable voice" is heard through and through, whether or not we choose to hear it.
 
The wind / Crosses the brown land, unheard.
 
It makes its presence felt, rather ominously, in the course of the poem's last movement:
 
Who is the third who walks always beside you?  
When I count, there are only you and I together  
But when I look ahead up the white road  
There is always another one walking beside you  
Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded  
I do not know whether a man or a woman  
—But who is that on the other side of you?
 
Well, I've only barely touched the outlines of this subject, in passing, in a rather random fashion. But you, readers, you can watch its enactment in the poem, both in its tangible and intangible form. The Absolute is both most explicit and implict -- implicit in the allusions that incessantly remind you of its implacable presence.
 
IMHO, 'The Waste Land', by far, may be reckoned as one of the most absolutist of poems. It is here, more than anywhere else in Eliot's poetry, that one can acutely feel "a sense of the timeless as well as of the temporal and of the timeless and of the temporal together".
  
Thanks,
 CR


From: Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 11:28 AM
Subject: Re: Absolutist Poetry ...

 
 Incidentally, in 'The Waste Land', the Absolute holds out the promise of rain and redemption, rather eloquently ;-)
 
"Co co rico co co rico  
 In a flash of lightning. Then a damp gust  
 Bringing rain"
 
"Then spoke the thunder"
 
 Cheers,
   CR


From: Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 7:52 AM
Subject: Re: Absolutist Poetry ...

The whole is larger than the sum of its parts.
 
CR

From: Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 7:08 AM
Subject: Re: Absolutist Poetry ...

"A whole" Maybe a black whole? ;->
Facts are artificially isolated sensory (ie visual) data. They are not experience, although they do tend to be measurable, and measurement is the god of science..

p.
----- Original Message ----- From: "Ken Armstrong" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 3:20 PM
Subject: Re: Absolutist Poetry ...


> This is why, in the matter of interpretation, "facts" are such dangerous critters as objects of knowledge. They'll always eat a whole in the fact-collector's bucket.
>
> Ken A
>
> Chokh Raj wrote:
>> /Philosophy and Poetry: vis-a-vis the absolute and the not-so-absolute  /
>> // "We are certain of everything - relatively, and of nothing - positively".
>>  'Every experience is a paradox in that it means to be absolute, and yet is relative; in that it somehow always goes beyond itself and yet never escapes itself.'
>>  -- TS Eliot, ' Knowledge and Experience in the Philosophy of FH Bradley'
>>  *The Poetic Strategy*
>> By Hilary Lawson
>> Centre for Literature and Philosophy
>> University of Sussex, 2008
>> http://www.sussex.ac.uk/clp/resources/poeticstrategy#_edn17 Darkling I listen ;-) CR