Shakespeare threw down his pencil, said I think I’m gonna start layin brick. There’s too much of this “Romeo stuff” enough to make anybody sick. To be or not to be I mean what’s that supposed to mean? I’m changing my image tomorrow, be a groupie, make the scene
“In every bit of honest writing in the world … there is a base theme. Try to understand men, if you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and nearly always leads to love. There are shorter means, many of them. there is writing promoting social change, writing punishing injustice, writing in celebration of heroism, but always that base theme. Try to understand each other.”
(Journal entry, 1938; quoted in introduction to 1994 edition of Of Mice and Men)
What’s a soul to do when confronted with poems that are one step beyond, that take you toward slant time and altered being? What to do when confronted with a poet who has a spiritual imagination, who creates written beauty, who is a genuine artist? I suppose one option is to just be quiet, be content in those moments of reading stupefaction. Or one can do what I’m doing now – try to say something about the experience.
I’ll start by looking at a photo of the poet, as if some clue to the hidden spirits of language might be registered there.
It’s probably wayward for me to say it, but I will anyway: the face of Georg Trakl is mad with hidden spirits of language. If I were told this picture had been taken inside a locked asylum for expressively coiled savants, I wouldn’t be surprised. There’s…