Thursday, October 18, 2007
Alex and me and the M that marks The Mothers
So we come out of class, Integrated Studies 3500, Humanities 320 R, Communications 350R, "Language, most dangerous of possessions." Alex has just lectured on/performed Mallarme, the poem "A Throw of the Dice," about the kinds of meaning we create with our sounds/words, meanings that are constellations painted on the non-narrative starry sky.
We walk to my office and can't quit talking about meaning and constellations. I pull the German/Czech poet Rilke's "Duino Elegies" off my shelf, a translation done by Alex's and my old friend and Welsh poet Leslie Norris:
Who can show us a child as he really is? Who
can send him among the constellations and let him stretch
his hand among the wide distances? . . .
As for us, we are spectators, always and everywhere,
turned to the universe, with no access!
It overwhelms us. We organize it. It falls apart.
We order it again, and fall apart ourselves. . . .
And above that, the stars. New stars, of the land of Sorrow.
Solemnly she names them: --There,
look: The Horseman, The Staff, and that full constellation
we call: The Wreath of Fruit . . .
And in the southern sky, unblemished as in the palm
of a saintly hand, the clear, luminous 'M'
that marks The Mothers. . . .
I point at the 'M.'
Alex points at the 'M.'
Don LaVange snaps his shutter.