[ilds] born without tongues

Marc Piel marcpiel at interdesign.fr
Mon Jul 23 01:52:23 PDT 2007

Michael, there is a second part to "Ideas About 
Poems" in N° 2 of PL, where LD talks about 
Nonsense, non-sense and resemblance to sense....

Michael Haag wrote:

> What Durrell did say about poems (Personal Landscape, issue One, I 
> think, but anyway found in the PL Anthology, pp77-8) is:
> '1) Neither poet nor public is really interested in the poem itself but 
> in aspects of it.
> 2) The poet is interested in the Personal aspect: the poem as an aspect 
> of himself.
> 3) The public is interested in the Vicarious aspect; that is to say 
> "the universal application", which is an illusion that grows round a 
> poem once the logical meaning is clear and the syntax ceases to puzzle.
> 4) This is why good poems get written despite bad poets an why bad 
> publics often choose right.
> Meanwhile, the poem itself is there all the time.  The sum of these 
> aspects, it is quite different to what the poet and the public imagine 
> it to be.  Like a child or a climate it is quite outside us and our 
> theories don't affect it in any way.  Just as climate must be endured 
> and children kept amused, the poem as a Fact must be dressed up 
> sometimes and sent to the Zoo -- to get rid of it.  It is part of the 
> ritual of endurance merely.  People say that writing Poetry is one of 
> the only non-Gadarene occupations left -- but this is only another 
> theory or aspect.  Poems are Facts, and if they don't speak for 
> themselves it's because they were born without tongues.'
> Note that in trying to decipher The Tree of Idleness we are performing 
> action 3.  But Durrell is interested in action 2.  These are not the 
> same thing; you can spend the rest of your life wrestling with 3 
> without coming a millimetre closer to 2.  Durrell is saying that the 
> poem is the sum of 2 and 3, but what he does not tell us is whether 2 
> is comprehensible.  What he does seem to expect is that the poem, 
> regardless of the poet or the public, will speak for itself, but if not 
> then that has nothing to do with the poet or the public, rather that 
> the poem itself which was born with no tongue.
> What Durrell does not say is that he wants his readers to understand 
> his poems.
> I see some sense in this.  I also see a fair amount of obfuscation in 
> this and a justification for privacy and incomprehensibility.
> :Michael
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