The silence between writing or artworks can get pretty heavy. And yet somehow, it’s not the kind of silence I need in these hectic and mundane days. My mind gallops through the same old terrain of ideas. Since I’ve already been circling ideas of beauty, untranslatability, absence and presence, memory and rootedness, I’ll post a poem that cuts to the heart of it, and yet leaves more to wonder. And hopefully a portal to wander through. As Eleanor Ross Taylor writes in a poem, “wandering is the only way out of this place.”

Peter Quince at the Clavier
Wallace Stevens

IV

Beauty is momentary in the mind —
The fitful tracing of a portal;
But in the flesh it is immortal.

The body dies; the body’s beauty lives.
So evenings die, in their green going,
A wave, interminably flowing.
So gardens die, their meek breath scenting
The cowl of winter, done repenting.
So maidens die, to the auroral
Celebration of a maiden’s choral.

Susanna’s music touched the bawdy strings
Of those white elders; but, escaping,
Left only Death’s ironic scraping.
Now, in its immortality, it plays
On the clear viol of her memory,
And makes a constant sacrament of praise.

Today’s Advice: “Just be an eternal question mark: what…? why…? how…? And remember: that you can’t find the answers is an answer in itself. It’s you, all the life in you, straining to break out. Dive into an endless maze of wonder and surprise, then you too will have no end, and can exist forever. Everything is strange and undefinable. Let it dazzle and confound you!” Ionesco, “Exit the King.”

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