WCW called for “no ideas but in things” to shun flowery lyricism with no concrete content. But at this strange moment I can hardly even bear words chained together in any poetic form. I want to distill them even more, down to bedrock. I watch for a clue of some obtuse secret color. Mystery must not be spoken of. It must only be revealed in the subtle flavor of a squash blossom. Latinate words put me off. "Squash blossom" puts me off—sounding so poeticized! Give me Anglo-Saxon gutturals. Give me ash grey, but not the word “ashes.” Give me an empty wine carafe or old milk bottle, but not the nostalgia for it. Has the heart gotten too saturated, and only a gradual dissipation of its contents will satisfy?
And yet my hypocritical fingers type away.
I wonder what the mind and heart are capable of. Whatever their vastness, they have to be emptied, and regularly. This is the work of meditation. (Or pain.) To dim down glitter and clammer. To get back to the place I remember, as what Virginia Woolf wrote, Mother and son, who are you . . . People drive this way and that . . . Carnations; chrysanthemums . . . Grey is the landscape; dim as ashes; the water murmurs and moves. If I fall on my knees, if I go through the ritual, the ancient antics, it’s you, unknown figures, you I adore; if I open my arms, it’s you I embrace, you I draw to me—adorable world! (from "An Unfinished Novel" in the collection “Monday or Tuesday”)
Will this longing ever return?