June 03, 2003

Mystery and Beauty

I recall reading in JPII's Love and Responsibility a passage about how infatuation is aided and abetted by the fact that the other person possesses much mystery and so we use our imagination to "fill in the blanks" with qualities so bright they can only be dimly cogitated. I realized this was not unlike what I do with poems, with Eliot or Joyce. The proximate cause of this thought was reading that John Updike liked TS Eliot as a child even though he was only dimly aware of what it meant, and I suddenly wondered if that was actually an advantage in some ways. He writes, "Once I borrowed "The Waste Land," having seen it mentioned in The New Yorker as a modern classic, and found its opacity pleasingly crisp..."

The opacity itself is pleasing! I indirectly blogged about this in posting a poem titled "Found at the Confluence of Fotos & Babelfish". I had put the Hernan González's Spanish blog thru Babelfish but the resulting phrases had "holes" of untranslatable words (at least untranslatable by Babelfish) and into those gaps I could imagine the most piquant pleasures! I suddenly felt sorry for Hernan, who knows what the words mean. (No great tragedy, but I'm sure you see what I'm driving at). The poem went:

evocative of their childhood chaqueña
in the gallery of Flowery street 681
I ran into one of those gratuitous recitales
with a conjuntito of tango
those "bitter" cortazianos personages
apostatized of the humanity and the cosmos
as consolation and psychic food

to prevail and to affect, through the elegance
of here cerquita and yesterday just
to ayunar as God commands.

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