Sunday, March 11, 2012

Thoughts on the Eve of Finals Week

The other day I had an epiphany regarding my most recent essay: it regarded zen and the veil of tears. There is no need to explain it in full, regardless of which I am not sure I am capable of such a thing. Suffice to say, I now regard what I articulated in that essay as merely a serious epistemological problem, rather than a metaphysical one.

I am beginning to think that At World’s End is the best of the Pirates of the Caribbean films. Each time I watch it I am engrossed. It is so beautiful, so otherworldly, and just complicated enough to make you still wonder what exactly is going on the umpteenth time through. It does not fare well on a first viewing, this is true, but it is definitely the most philosophically challenging of the four films. Also, much of its finest imagery is derived from Coleridge’s poem, Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Jack Sparrow is an archetypal Byronic hero, Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman are a creative triumph to match anything in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings, and nearly every word that comes out of Geoffrey Rush’s mouth is perfection.

Alpine skiing and writing poetry have got to be the two best procrastination techniques there are. The results of the first was an excellent, although somewhat vision impaired, day at Steven’s Pass; the result of the second was this poem.

Upon Waking (A Walk on Madison Street)

Yesterday I heard a noise and turned and,
As some vanishing limb in the underbrush,
I thought I might have seen you.

Are you still coming?–
Beneath the stormhead,
Over the heather,
In the wind and the iron light?
Are you yet near?–
You maiden still against the dawn and
All the land laid bare and misting below?
I see a glint of your eyes in every face
But your face in none.

When will I see you and how will I know you?
In the vision you are all and none but
Somehow in your swiftly forgotten voice
I hear the shades of one name,
And in the features of your face you mirror
All the characters
Of my great apokalypse.

All my life I have seen you,
Your figure of many forms,
As in a glass lit by torches of holy oil;
For you carry some brilliance
Born of mad dream sight,
That, like the wavering star
Low against the vault,
Dims upon comprehension.

Yet yesterday I dreamt anew the vision;
And with your sight in my eye still,
I searched every feature of every face:
The pit of each eye and the lilt of each voice.
I searched and I searched;
And I found only Aredhel’s ghost.

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