Reflections upon how twentieth-century Criticism and poetry transformed our interpretations of poetry and ourselves.
It seems we have discovered poetry
And so impersonality met
With persona, voices and character,
Blurred and whisked into enigma
Retaining the personal
Of the selfless self-centred
Lyric thinkers, new-renounced.
Language, form and content shimmered,
But Criticism conceived a reality
It glimpsed lying beneath the waves.
Then there was uncertainty
When, reaching in and breaking the waters
It found nothing there to clutch
And the medium for glimpsing it
Shattered by destructive touch.
But only momentarily scattered!
Hand removed, the image returns,
Restored, the illusion behind the waves
We sit back now, fidgeting for better perspectives,
Wonder from how near or far to stare,
What all this actually means.
All is relative to the beholder.
The beholding is all, not the beheld.
The object is oblique, obscured
We cannot even agree what we look for in it
Let alone what our object is.
But what matters is never the ends (reality knows none)
Nor the subjectively chosen means (unverifiable)
No: the process turns out to be all.
However hard you search, whatever you look for
It all boils down to one reality:
It seems we have discovered poetry.
© Ian Kennedy. Not to be reproduced without permission – email email@example.com and I’ll be happy to oblige!