Friday, April 20, 2007

Reality: the feeling of what happens

This poem is contained in A Book of Luminous Things—Czeslaw Milosz’s international anthology of poetry.

I AM THE POET

I am the poet of reality
I say the earth is not an echo
Nor man an apparition;
But that all the things seen are real,
The witness and albic dawn of things equally real
I have split the earth and the hard coal and rocks and the solid bed of sea
And went down to reconnoiter there a long time,
And bring back a report,
And I understand that those are positive and dense every one
And that what they seem to the child they are
[And that the world is not joke,
Nor any part of it a sham].

Czeslaw Milosz has this to say about the poem:

The strong presence of a thing described means that the poet believes in its real existence. That is the meaning of a programmatic and unfinished poem by Walt Whitman. “I Am the Poet,” which rehabilitates a “naïve” approach and rejects philosophy’s unfavorable opinion on the direct testimony of our senses.

A Book of Luminous Things

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