Friday, October 8, 2010

between the material world and the world of feeling

Between the material world and the world of feeling there must be a border - on one side, the person grieves and the cells of the body grieve also; the molecules also; the atoms.  Of this there are many proofs.  On the other, the iron will of the earth goes on.  The torture-broken femur continues to heal even in the last hour, perhaps beyond; the wool coat left behind does not morn the loss of its master.  And yet Cavafy wrote, "In me now everything is turned into feeling - furniture, streets."  And Saba found in a bleating goat his own and all beings' sorrow, and this morning the voice of that long-dead goat - which is only, after all, a few black-inked words - cries and cries in my ears.  Rilke, too, believed the object longs to awaken in us.  But I long for the calm acceptance of a bentwood chair and envy the blue-green curve of a vase's shoulder, which holds whatever is placed within it - the living flower or the dead - with an equally tender balance, and know no difference between them.

~ Jane Hirshfield
from After


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