Friday, January 30, 2015
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
excerpt from an interview in The Price of Experience, Black Widow Press 2012
Clayton Eshleman: In The Time of Voice, one poem is titled "Every Language is a Second Language." Does one write poetry to break out of second language into first language? Is the language shamans tell us they hear, and converse with animals in, a first language?
Robert Kelly: No, shaman talk and beast talk are second languages too. First language is what happens to our skin and eyes and mind in the world, the hurt of happen. The touch of hand. The wind. We can name all those things later, but when they happen, they are first language talking to us, and we speak that language by moving, touching, tasting. I mean the movement from perception into language is far greater in its abstraction, its terror, than the movement from English to Japanese or Tibetan. My title, its idea, is to keep people firmly aware of how remote all language is from the healing joyous horror of primary sensation.
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Open your eyes to what I now reveal,
and you will see your thoughts and my words join
as one truth at the center of the round.
All that which dies and all that cannot die
reflect the radiance of that Idea
which God the Father through His love begets:
that Living Light, which from its radiant Source
streams forth Its light but never parts from It
nor from the Love which tri-unites with them,
of Its own grace sends down its rays, as if
reflected, through the nine subsistencies,
remaining sempiternally Itself.
Then it descends to the last potencies,
from act to act, becoming so diminished,
it brings forth only brief contingencies;
and by this term I mean things generated,
things which the moving heavens produce from seed
or not from seed. The wax of things like these
is more or less receptive, and the power
that shapes it, more or less effective––stamped
with the idea, it shines accordingly.
So trees of the same species may produce
dissimilar fruit, some better and some worse;
so men are born with diverse natural gifts.
And if the wax were perfectly disposed,
and if the heavens were at their highest power,
the brilliance of the seal would shine forth full;
but Nature can never transmit this light
in its full force––much like the artisan
who knows his craft but has a trembling hand.
But if the Fervent Love moves the Clear Vision
of the First Power and makes of that its seal,
the thing it stamps is perfect in all ways.
Dante, Paradise Canto XIII (Mark Musa translation)