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The poem that Took the Place of a Mountain

There it was, word for word,
the poem that took the place of mountain.

He breathed its oxygen,
even when the book lay turned in the dust of his table.

It remined him how he had needed
A place to go to in his own direction,

how he had recomposed the pines,
Shifted the rocks and picked his way among clouds,

for the outlook that would be right,
Where he would be complete in an unexplained completion:

The exact rock where his inexactnesses
Would discover, at last, the view toward which they had edged,

Where he could lie and, gazing down at the sea,
recognize his unique and solitary home.

Wallace Stevens

There it was
With just two words it sets a spatial and temporal distance: it was, past, there, as dislocation. The subject is here and there there was something: it establishes a distance between the author and the the poem.

word for word
Why isn’t it the poem but “word by word”?Because the poem is composed by elements, by a graduality by a succession of events, of things: totality is made by parts, by a sequence of different facts. There it was…word for word, there are signs in a few words of the poetics pregnancy, not just concepts but a world: temporal distance, phisical distance, sequence of events that determines the totality of a fact; the poem that took the place of mountain. The sequence word for word, distant there it was, alternates a global presence, total and immediate: the mountain. An established fact, made of parts, far, replaces a near reality made all of a single entity. We pass from a phisical fragmentation to a conceptual dimension. We are introduced into the difference between poetry and mountain.

He breathed its oxygen

What is breath?Breath is internalized movement, complex, not intentional, deeply wrapped to life, it establishes with the poetry a close relatioship, idrect and immediate. For the poet the relatioship with the poetry hasn’t an epic and exceptional character, it’s a continuous experience, constant, daily, usual. What was he breathing?Oxygen. Why not air?What does distinguish oxygen from air?While air is a mix oxygen is a component, the essential element; oxygen as quintessence of air, substance that allow tht breath. So poetry has the capacity to emanate the ultimate essence, silent pure, unnoticed.

even when the book lay turned in the dust of his table

There isn’t the use of unusual words or coming out the ordinary vocabulary. Here we have: word, poem, mountain, oxygen, table, book, dust; this parallel world is built by the poet through daily things, he doesn’t need others concepts, terminology or sophisticated grammatical constructions. He builds it with things around him; this “supreme fiction” is made by the same identical things of the usual world. Inverting it even when the book lay turned in the dust of his table he breathed its oxygen. Trying to imagine the book turned on the table covered by dust. What is there into the overturned book?Why is it overturned?Because it’s open, otherwise it wouldn’t be overturned. It is open on a poetry that has been read, that is considered important but that they want to rember, therefore it is left open, in a position of quiet, of waiting, of long waiting because of the dust, but predisposed to the “fly”, to the reading. Despite this state of abandonement but of waiting, the book emanates its oxygen, poetry continues to be, as long as the book stays open, even if overturned, abandoned, even if not consulted, bacuse above it there is dust, poetry continues to emanate its own value, the oxygen. If the book wasn’t there or if it wasn’t overturned, there would be any poetic intention, poetry remains a reference, even if temporary put on one side, which goes on to emanate the silent vital element. Like some aromatic substances in a solid state, poetry, held into the overturned book, sublimes into a rise beyond the limit, sub-limen, without to be read, not through the senses, jumping the liquid state of the word it comes directly to the aeriform state, the interior dimension.

It remined him how he had needed
A place to go to in his own direction,

Poetry is essential to discover the place to reach, is the memory of the poetry that orients intentions and allow the individuation of our direction to follow, poetry becomes for its suggest and for its ability to indicate and to remind us an artificial place to build that replaces itself the phisical place of the mountain.

how he had recomposed the pines,
Shifted the rocks and picked his way among clouds,

In this world of the “supreme fiction” it is possible, to build our world, to step in substitution of nature recomposed the pines; to act in violation of nature, shifted the rocks, to operate in a way completely different from the laws of nature, picked his way among clouds. It expresses a progressive removal from the real in order to affirm the impossibility, the individuation of a path among clouds is a definitive representation of the poetry that places the mountain. Pines, rocks, clouds, to reassemble, to move, to find, they announce the loosening of phisical and tangibility, pines and rocks can be touched and eventually moved, cloud can be only observed and paths between them imagined. Imagination prevails and senses attenuate.

And why all this?For the outlook that would be right, compared with what is it right and what allow us to see the right outlook?Is it right for what it is possible to see?Is it right for the observer?What can we perceive from that point?It is from that point that we can reach our fullness. The observation point is right because it allows to live the unexsplainable fullness, is the unexsplainable fullness that allow to kown the rightness of the observation point, the observation point is right because it makes to know an unexsplainable fullness not determined by “real” things but by things belonging to the “world of supreme fiction”, the world of poetry, of the imaginary state not predictable. When do we live the “state of unexsplainable fullness”?When the exact and the inexact coexist into the rock, when differences be reconciled, when the rock has itself the totality.

Would discover, at last, the view toward which they had edged, the correctness and incorrectness define the look, they constitute the border inside which we can feel a different way of look at things, the perception opnes to unexplainable, we reach the place of quiet, where he could lie. The place of poetry is build in this way, it’s a place of distension, of contemplation, and “gazing down at the sea”, we are distant, we feel the distance of things, and while the poetry at the beginning was there, now it is the world to be there, positions are changed, we are by the side of poetry. Through the creative act, the poetic act, the imagine, we pass from the world to poetry, proximity becomes distance and distance becomes proximity. After lots of breathing, remembering, recomposing, moving, finding, arriving, discovering, laying, fixing, at the end we recognize the most familiar, his unique and solitary home. Now distance usual reality is seen in a complete way, from above and from far, through poetry we can see and recognize the usual, poetry makes possible to find poetry in daily life.

1 Comment

  • Daniele

    Grazie Carlo di avermi donato per un attimo la magnifica illusione di aver capito ogni cosa…a presto!

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