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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

THE POET, by T.E. Hulme


Over a large table, smooth, he leaned in ecstasies,
In a dream.
He had been to woods, and talked and walked with trees
Had left the world
And brought back round globes and stone images
Of gems, colours, hard and definite.
With these he played in a dream,
On a smooth table.


This poem is taken from one of Hulme's notebooks and is prefaced with this:

The exact relation between the expression and the inside image: (i) Expression obviously partakes of the nature of cinders, cf. Red girl dancing. (ii) But on the other hand, vague hell image common to everybody makes an infinite of limited hard expression.

The poem is followed immediately by:

(cf. the red dancer in his head.)

Expression (Metaphysical)
     A red dancer on a stage.  A built-up complex of cinders so not due to any primeval essence.  Cinders as foundations for (i) philosophy (ii) aesthetics.
     The old controversy as to which is greater, the mind or the material in art."

Hulme goes on, but without having the actual book with me, I'm nervous about proceeding and misinterpreting his intentions.  As it stands, this is a lovely piece, though intended to demonstrate a point--mind over mind, as it were.

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