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Jan. 14th, 2007 | 05:08 pm
posted by: maybemonday in casual_order

"It has happened that we have been afflicted with a basic deprivation, to such an extent that we seem to be missing some vital organs, even as we try to survive somehow. Theology, science, philosopy, even though they attempt to provide cures, are not very effective 'in that dark world where gods have lost their way' (Roethke). They are able at best to confirm that our affliction is not invented. I have written elsewhere of this deprivation as one of the consequences brought about by science and technology that pollutes not only the natural environment but also the human immagination. The world deprived of clear-cut outlines, of the up and the down, of good and evil, succumbs to a peculiar nihilization, that is, it loses its colors, so that grayness covers not only things of this earth and of space, but also the very flow of time, its minutes, days, and years. Abstract considerations will be of little help, even if they are intended to bring relief.

"Poetry is quite different. By its very nature it says: All these theories are untrue. Since poetry deals with the singular, not the general, it cannot -- if it is good poetry -- look at things of this earth other than as colorful, variegated, and exciting, and so, it cannot reduce life, with all its pain, horror, suffering, and ecstasy, to a unified tonality of boredom or complaint. By necessity, poetry is therefore on the side of being and against nothingness."

-- Cseslaw Milosz, introduction to A Book of Luminous Things

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