Thursday, August 20, 2009

Glossed Ghazal

Event of oneself, ongoing primordial,
Without way or opening, a very hard fall.[1]

In the beginning, beginning’s very middle,
See my blinding opening, your pure white hole.[2]

Summoned by something making answering its call,
Walking an opening where stepping is trail.[3]

Stumbling perfectly, on stumbling, the way a ball,
Deep surface, no opening, feels, cannot, its roll.[4]

Will these clauses, unconcluding, speak being’s wheel,
Our anarchic opening, foundation beyond frail?[5]

Or are they, caught underneath, wax to empty seal,
Signs only of opening, of depths unreal?[6]

Event of oneself, so perversely actual,
Queerest opening, a sparrow through the hall.[7]

[1] “Kaspar Hauser: Well, it seems to me . . . that my coming into this world . . . was a terribly hard fall! Professor Daumer: But Kaspar! That . . . No, that's not . . . How should I explain it to you?” (The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, dir. Werner Herzog [1974]). “Who am I? How did I get into the world? Why was I not asked about it, why was I not informed of the rules and the regulations but just thrust into the ranks? . . . And if I am compelled to be involved, where is the manager—I have something to say about this. Is there no manager? To whom shall I make my complaint?” (Søren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling; Repetition, trans. Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983], 200).

[2] “Every morning, even before I open my eyes, I know I am in my bedroom and my bed. But if I go to sleep after lunch in the room where I work, sometimes I wake up with a feeling of childish amazement—why am I myself? What astonishes me, just as it astonishes a child when he becomes aware of his own identity, is the fact of finding myself here, and at this moment, deep in this life and not in any other. What stroke of chance has brought this about?” (Simone de Beauvoir, All Said and Done, trans. Patrick O’Brien [New York: Putnam, 1974], 1). “We now know the location of this narrow passage through which thought is able to exit from itself—it is through facticity, and through facticity alone, that we are able to make our way towards the absolute” (Quentin Meillassoux, After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency, trans. Ray Brassier [London: Continuum, 2008], 63).

[3] “This characteristic of Dasein’s Being—this ‘that it is’—is veiled in its ‘whence’ and ‘whither’, yet disclosed in itself all the more unveiledly; we call it the ‘thrownness’ of this entity into its ‘there’; indeed, it is thrown in such a way that, as Being-in-the-world, it is its ‘there’” (Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, trans. John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson [San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1962], I.5.29, p.174). “When I consider the brief span of my life absorbed into the eternity which comes before and after . . . the small space I occupy and which I see swallowed up in the infinite immensity of spaces of which I know nothing and which know nothing of me, I take fright and am amazed to see myself here rather than there: there is no reason for me to be here rather than there, now rather than then. Who put me here?” (Blaise Pascal, Pensées, trans. A. J. Krailsheimer [New York: Penguin, 1966], no. 68).

[4] “Just as stone is first presented to the intellect as something in its own right and not as universal or singular, neither is stone first grasped through a second intention, nor is universality a part of the meaning of the concept, but the mind understands the nature of stone for what it is in itself and not as universal or as particular or singular,—so in its extramental existence stone is primarily neither one nor many numerically, yet it has its own proper unity which is less than the unity pertaining to a singular” (John Duns Scotus, Early Oxford Lecture on Individuation, trans. Allan B. Wolter [St. Bonaventure, NY: Franciscan Institute, 2005], sect. 32). “In the abandon in which I am lost, the empirical knowledge of my similarity with others is irrelevant, for the essence of my self arises from this—that nothing will be able to replace it: the feeling of my fundamental improbability situates me in the world where I remain as though foreign to it, absolutely foreign” (George Bataille, Inner Experience, trans. Leslie Anne Boldt [Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1988], 69).

[5] “As for the soul being ‘mixed up’ I dare say we’ve the whole divina commedia going on inside us. Yeats rather objects to cells being intelligent, but, I think the ‘Paradiso’ is a fair stab at presenting a developed ‘phantastikon’. The real mediation is, however, the meditation on one’s identity. Ah, voilà une chose!! You try it. You try finding out why you’re you & not somebody else. And who in the blazes are you anyhow? A voilà une chose!” (Ezra Pound, Ezra Pound and Dorothy Shakespear, Their Letters, 1909-1914, ed. Omar Pound and A. Walton Litz [New York: New Directions, 1984], letter to Dorothy Shakespear, 21 April 1913). “[I]nterpreting is itself a possible and distinctive how of the character of being of facticity. Interpreting is a being which belongs to the being of factical life itself. If one were to describe facticity—improperly—as the ‘object’ of hermeneutics (as plants are described as the objects of botany), then one would find this (hermeneutics) in its own object itself (as if analogously plants, what and how they are, came along with botany and from it)” (Martin Heidegger, Ontology—The Hermeneutics of Facticity, trans. John van Buren [Bloomington: Indiana University Press], 12).

[6] “Even more than the style, the very rhythm of our life is based on the good standing of rebellion. Loath to admit a universal identity, we posit individuation, heterogeneity as a primordial phenomenon. Now, to revolt is to postulate this heterogeneity, to conceive it as somehow anterior to the advent of beings and objects” (E. M. Cioran, The Temptation to Exist, trans. Richard Howard [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998], 42). “Don Quixote, steeled by his intrepid heart, leapt upon Rocinante, grasped his little round shield, clasped his pike and said: ‘Friend Sancho, I would have you know that I was born, by the will of heaven, in this iron age of ours, to revive in it the age of gold, or golden age, as it is often called. I am the man, I repeat, for whom dangers, great exploits, valiant deeds are reserved’” (Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote, trans. John Rutherford [New York: Penguin, 2001], 154).

[7] “Another of the king’s [Edwin’s]chief men signified his agreement with this prudent argument [in favor of accepting Christianity], and went on to say: ‘Your Majesty, when we compare the present life of man on earth with that time of which we have no knowledge, it seems to me like swift flight of a single sparrow through the banqueting-hall where you are sitting on a winter’s day with your thegns and counselors. . . . Even so, man appears on earth for a little while; but of what went before this life or of what follows, we know nothing. Therefore, if this new teaching has brought any more certain knowledge, it seems only right that we should follow it” (Bede, Ecclesiastical History of the English People, trans. David Hugh Farmer [New York: Penguin, 1990], II.13). “God or the good or the place does not take place, but is the taking-place of the entities, their innermost exteriority. The being-worm of the worm, the being-stone of the stone, is divine. . . . Evil, on the other hand, is the reduction of the taking-place of things to a fact like others, the forgetting of the transcendence inherent in the very taking-place of things” (Giorgio Agamben, The Coming Community, trans. Michael Hardt [Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993], 14).

1 comment:

amarilla said...

Thank you, this is so generous. I'll never look at sparrows the same way.
Happy trails!