Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Several unconnected thoughts

I walked into a candy store today to get some treats for the kids and saw boxes of candy cigarettes again. I used to love those when I was little--my mother banned them from our house, though. My grandfather was a radiation oncologist.

Our experiment with reducing Robert's Artane seems to be going well. He had been having a number of side effects that were hard to distinguish because of his general neurological problems. So it's been good to have them go away.

Mostly I've been working on my manuscript--it may not be the manuscript, but it is a manuscript. Pushing myself on each poem individually before even trying to reassemble it has been a good exercise. I've started seeing richer connections between poems, started to try to understand it.

Got an email from another poet today letting me know Donald Revell has a new book of essays out, which I have ordered from Amazon. I know several people who are very consumed by the spiritual aspects of poetry. There are times it bothers me that so much of my work is consumed with the body. I've been trying to pull through that, really think about it, try to articulate the connections between body and spirit. In the early modern period, the old conceit (from Platonic thought) was that one climbed the ladder of love (both eros and agape) from the body upward through the spirit and to the truth. That the body is something that must be left behind.

But isn't the body the filter through which truth passes? I'm not sure what I mean by that--the body ages, the body malfunctions, the body is crippled, the body glows with health, radiates love, etc. We absorb what we know through the skin of another person--or the eyes, or the hands. Who says the senses are the lowest common denominator of wisdom or truth? Does truth have a stasis or eternity? Is truth unchanging? The body's aging and change seem to me to reveal truths--what changes in or with the body creates necessity, accommodation, need for connection or isolation. The body or the apparition of the body is the conduit of our knowing. The body is the integral connection with the spiritual.

Yeats writes, "I must lay down where all the ladders start / In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart."

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