Friday, July 8, 2011

Percy as Poem

I've been feasting on the archives at Korrectiv when I should be working.

He caught TB in med school,
bending over the corpses
of bums who died in the street.

He was sent away to rest,
surrender to the only cure:
rest, no exercise, sleep.

And so he read: Nietzsche,
Proust, and his favorite,
“the melancholy Dane.”

Happiness was despair,
he learned, even in America:
smug faces in the checkout lines,
a nation that believed
in bigger cars, more pills,
better bombs.

He thought about his ancestors,
their Delta plain and seas
of cotton, men who were
merely stoics at the end…

One day, he checked himself
out, drove across the country
to New Mexico.

He walked outside, night
after night, his heart
turning to a painful stone.

He saw the darkness between
the distant stars, faint light
at best.

But what if the sky
was only a book, open
to another, more careful

Out there, in the desert,
anything was possible,
even God.
– William Miller
Literary Review, Winter
2004, Vol. 47 Issue 2, p. 103-4

Of Soren and Socrates

I miss my finger puppet...

The majority of men in every generation, even those who, as it is described, devote themselves to thinking (dons and the like), live and die under the impression that life is simply a matter of understanding more and more, and if it were granted to them to live longer, that life would continue to be one long continuous growth in understanding. How many of them ever experience the maturity of discovering that there comes a critical moment where everything is reversed, after which the point becomes to understand more and more that there is something which cannot be understood. That is Socratic ignorance, and that is what the philosophy of our times requires as a corrective…It is quite literally true that the law is: increasing profundity is understanding more and more that one cannot understand. And there once again comes in “being like a child,” but raised to the second power.

— Soren Kierkegaard

Things I Need Reminding Of - Part I

To live in the past and future is easy. To live in the present is like threading a needle.

- Walker Percy, Lancelot