Eros is an issue of boundaries. He exists because certain boundaries do. In the interval between reach and grasp, between glance and counterglance, between ‘I love you’ and ‘I love you too,’ the absent presence of desire comes alive. But the boundaries of time and glance and I love you are only aftershocks of the main, inevitable boundary that creates Eros: the boundary of flesh and self between you and me. And it is only, suddenly, at the moment when I would dissolve that boundary, I realize I never can.
THE PRESOCRATIC PROBLEM [all snap flags] Parmenides named his gun The Hot Power of the Stars. His gun was one, uncreated, imperishable, timeless, changeless, perfect, spherical. Spherical was the problem.
LIII. What is the holiness of conversation? It is to master death.
You remember too much, my mother said to me recently. Why hold onto all that? And I said, Where can I put it down?
[Short Talk on Sylvia Plath] Did you see her mother on television? She said plain, burned things. She said I thought it an excellent poem but it hurt me. She did not say jungle fear. She did not say jungle hatred wild jungle weeping chop it back chop it. She said self-government she said end of the road. She did not say humming in the middle of the air what you came for chop.
Girls are cruelest to themselves. Someone like Emily Brontë, who remained a girl all her life despite her body as a woman, had cruelty drifted up in all the cracks of her like spring snow.
Here we go mother on the shipless ocean. Pity us, pity the ocean, here we go.
[Short Talk on the Sensation of Airplane Takeoff] Well you know I wonder, it could be love running toward my life with its arms up yelling let’s buy it what a bargain!
Beauty makes me hopeless. I don't care why anymore I just want to get away. When I look at the city of Paris I long to wrap my legs around it. When I watch you dancing there is a heartless immensity like a sailor in a dead-calm sea. Desires as round as peaches bloom in me all night, I no longer gather what falls.
Prowling the meanings of a word, prowling the history of a person, no use expecting a flood of light. Human words have no main switch. But all those little kidnaps in the dark. And then the luminous, big, shivering, discandied, unrepentant, barking web of them that hangs in your mind when you turn back to the page you were trying to translate...
Come here, let me share a bit of wisdom with you. Have you given much thought to our mortal condition? Probably not. Why would you? Well, listen. All mortals owe a debt to death. There's no one alive who can say if he will be tomorrow. Our fate moves invisibly! A mystery. No one can teach it, no one can grasp it. Accept this! Cheer up! Have a drink! But don't forget Aphrodite--that's one sweet goddess. You can let the rest go. Am I making sense? I think so. How about a drink. Put on a garland. I'm sure the happy splash of wine will cure your mood. We're all mortal you know. Think mortal. Because my theory is, there's no such thing as life, it's just catastrophe.
Now every mortal has pain and sweat is constant, but if there is anything dearer than being alive, it's dark to me. We humans seem disastrously in love with this thing (whatever it is) that glitters on the earth-- we call it life. We know no other. The underworld's a blank and all the rest just fantasy.
To be running breathlessly, but not yet arrived, is itself delightful, a suspended moment of living hope.
Words bounce. Words, if you let them, will do what they want to do and what they have to do.
The basic rules of male-female relations were imparted atmospherically in our family, no direct speech allowed.
Perhaps the hardest thing about losing a lover is to watch the year repeat its days. It is as if I could dip my hand down into time and scoop up blue and green lozenges of April heat a year ago in another country. I can feel that other day running underneath this one like an old videotape
Then the edge asserts itself. You are not a god. You are not that enlarged self. Indeed, you are not even a whole self, as you now see. Your new knowledge of possibilities is also a knowledge of what is lacking in the actual.
I do think I have an ability to record sensual and emotional facts and factoids, to construct a convincing surface of what life feels like, both physical life and emotional life.
We're talking about the struggle to drag a thought over from the mush of the unconscious into some kind of grammar, syntax, human sense; every attempt means starting over with language. starting over with accuracy.
There are different gradations of personhood in different poems. Some of them seem far away from me and some up close, and the up-close ones generally don't say what I want them to say. And that's true of the persona in the poem who's lamenting this as a fact of a certain stage of life. But it's also true of me as me.