In Traherne's thought no less than in his style, the concept of infinity is important. Traherne will present an image, comparison, or description only to show how inadequate it is to express the truth of the Soul's unique status in the universe. This theme of unknowing is best seen, perhaps, in his frequent praise of infancy. It is as if man learns limitation through misunderstood experiences; or as if experience somehow separates consciousness into "seeming" and "knowing. His diction tends to erode the idea of a set position in a set frame of space. Toward the close of the Fourth Century, Traherne introduces the theme that will carry through to the last decade: "Infinity.
As in the famous Donne poem, "The Extasie," soul's mysteries are "unperplexed," but by an ecstatic experience that obliterates the incompleteness of all other, individuating acts. Hence, the Third Century, insofar as it is any kind of autobiography at all, is so in a drastically modulated sense. Autobiography of the seventeenth century tends to be univocal; in the Centuries , it becomes less and less so, and more and more like the psalmist's.
For in Traherne's magisterial conception, here, above all others, one hears the celebratory and visionary account of the comprehensive soul, perceiving all time, all places, all occupations, "All":. Divisions between parts are often as tenuous as the vague sense of difference among times. It is not just that objects give way before this rhetoric of erosion, but with it the logic of change--of progression, the staple configuration of the commonsense view of even spiritual biography--vanishes too.
Trained to look for "logical" or "concrete" or "organic" systems of organization, critics find the absence of all of these offensive. But by what rule did critics decide that continuity or particularity or univocality must be invoked as criterion--or, in tandem, as criteria--of excellence in every case? At its best, Traherne's prose conveys a sense of onrush, as if the author would have the reader inundated--along with his speaker--by a tide of thoughts, which often overflow the limits of the normal English sentence. This strategy explains why so many periods occur in the Centuries where no sentences end, and why so many sentences end with no period at all, or with an inappropriate sign.
That is the point, or, rather, that is the sense that Traherne's prose--as distinct, say, from Richard Hooker's or Bacon's or Hobbes's--conveys. For instance, in the following passage, the parenthetical utterances seem to suggest a separate strand of thought completely lost in the larger motion of ideas:. His is a literary art of abstraction. It depends on a strategy which presupposes that one cannot think of the whole as apart from its smallest segment.
In this way, Traherne's spiritual interest expresses itself in precisely the opposite way that Cardinal John Henry Newman's would. When Newman revised his Apologia , he sought to make it more and more clear, more and more exact, more and more logical. For Traherne, such a strategy only compounded a common mistake. The idea was to feel, to see, to understand that in the smallest, unattached word--"Felicity"--there resided the numinous truth of "All. It has been said that Traherne's poetry is, in reality, little more than shortened versions of the prose, which, if true, would not explain why the verse is less worthy than the prose.
But, in fact, several of Traherne's poems appear in his prose works, so, presumably, he thought they contributed something to those sequences. The poem on King David from the Centuries is a case in point. Here, the prophetic descendant of David asserts himself in the lyric mode in order, directly, to declare his literary heritage.
Then, too, Traherne's paraphrases of the Song of Songs, which also announce their place in the biblical tradition, are, in a sense, even more tellingly brought into a Trahernean perspective. It could be argued that Traherne wrote some of the finest epitaphs of the seventeenth century. These disparate poetic ventures appear in various sources: segments distributed in such prose works including those still in manuscript as the Centuries ; and in collections originating in two manuscripts of verse. In a carefully argued essay in ELH June , John Malcolm Wallace challenged this arrangement by treating the poems in the Dobell Folio as a coherent poetic sequence, which he thought accorded with the structure of the Ignatian meditation.
Whether or not that particular paradigm holds, the argument that the Dobell poems must be separated from the sequence put together by Philip Traherne left another sequence of poems, namely, those in the Burney Manuscript-- Poems of Felicity minus the poems that Thomas Traherne clearly put together as a coherent whole.
To avoid ambiguity, this sequence will be referred to here as "Divine Reflections," from the subtitle of Philip's arrangement. This title parallels the newly discovered "Select Meditations," and is surely consonant with the poet's figurative interest in the Burney sequence in the figure of the water-mirror. The emphasis here is on the contract between the real and the unreal, on the shining that is only on the surface, and on the deceptive "Curling" aspect of "Metaphors that gild the Sence.
Thus, although there is no copy of this text in Thomas Traherne's hand, this poem is typical of Traherne's poetic achievement. In effect, the poem elaborates on an appropriate figure of "Self-Lov," namely that of the water-mirror. The locus classicus is, of course, found in the myth of Narcissus, who spurned the affections of others in favor of his own reflection, which Narcissus with some justice, one is led to believe found most beautiful. But Traherne's poem works by an ingenious reversal.
The reflected image of the water fuses with the child's thought, and "a sweet Mistake" occurs. The child thinks "Another World" lies beneath the smooth surface. But it would be a mistake to think of the figure here as naive. Traherne is saying that experience can lead away from the insight of intuition: "A Seeming somwhat more than View. Common sense would say that, with their heads beneath the water, these creatures must be doomed to death by water. But the child's "seeming" adds something to "seeing" that an adult, critical understanding takes away. In this gestalt, the child observes that the others are "crown'd" by "another Hev'n.
The child's mind moves into the spacious regions beneath the surface of the water, and the chink expands into a cosmos; microcosm becomes macrocosm. As the poem unfolds, now, on mature reflection, the speaker sees what has been lost, and in this imaginative recuperation, regains the capacity to communicate with the other world:. It is wrong to think that these "Shadows" are detritus dredged up from the memory of an early visual experience.
The occasion makes sense only as the speaker understands the tactile aspects of the experience--the feel as well as the sight of the surface of the water: "Where Peeple's feet against Ours go. The speaker sees that the adult correction of the child's mistake introduces an error of its own: a loss of sweetness, a loss of understanding.
The adult tends to reduce everything to mere sense impression; thus, adult correction turns out to be overcorrection. The child sees that the wonder of creation is not available in a single, limited reaction to a sense impression. The child's "Mistake" is "sweet" because, as Traherne thinks, it brings in other times, all of them, and so relates the moment to infinity: or as Traherne would be more apt to say, to "Felicity.
This fact alone would justify scrutiny of the Burney collection for those features associated with Traherne's method--or perhaps antimethod would be a more accurate term--of organization. This is, of course, the antithesis of the surface glitter described in "The Author to the Critical Peruser. In "The Review," unspeakable, unknowable qualities of experience are known, but known in part only by the unknown state of asking:.
As in the Centuries , so in "Divine Reflections" the movement toward consummation is imperceptible, but nonetheless valued for being so:. In this timeless moment, beginning, end, and present no longer oppress the speaker with their insistence on division and alienation. Yet the thematic movement of the Dobell poems begins, as did "Divine Reflections," with figures of birth, as represented in " The Salutation ":.
We know that Philip altered "Speaking" to "new-made Tongue," which shows that he did not always grasp his brother's point. Here, Traherne suggests that, paradoxically, prior to birth, the speaker owns his tongue, but owns it without knowing so. The original stanza has something surreal about it, in its bland assertion of consciousness before birth. Existence precedes what passes in adult conversation as cognition. It has been said that, like the Wordsworth of "Intimations of Immortality," Traherne believed in the preexistence of the soul; and yet what we see here is a more remarkable assertion of the preexistence of the body.
Devolve; The Wolf
The soul descends from light into brightness of the child's growing awareness of the wonder of the world in which the "Soul did Walk. But 'twas Divine. For Traherne, the ready reception of the child's senses marks a prelapsarian consciousness:. Traherne conveys a sense of the child's rapt attention as a wonderful inheritance of God's love; the very ground on which men walk is holy because they themselves are so. Later, in adult retrospection, the speaker recognizes that in the infant's uncritical perception lies an innocence and understanding which is later unlearned, as the self falls into the adult world.
As in " Shadows in the Water ," so in the Dobell poems, the speaker comes to know that one surrenders the child's feeling of oneness with the world at too great a cost. And yet, as in "The Approach," Traherne's meditator recognizes that a residue of truth lies even in bittersweet recollection:. In this recognition the adult tendency to dissect and to analyze gives way, and the soul is enlarged.
Its new mark, delineated in "Nature," is "Wide Infinitie.
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Again, part of the adult's "Preparative" is the recognition that the child's misapprehension is not entirely wrong. Rather, the adult must reacquaint the soul with its true inheritance: "Get free, and so thou shalt even all Admire. It is a technique that occurs again and again in the sequence for example, in "The Rapture" and "Dumnesse". In this condition the soul achieves a Godlike sense in which opposites contain each other, and all that is true in human experience is seen as limiting and therefore false.
Experience teaches that desire diminishes with possession; but the felicitous soul knows that wants and pleasures merge as one in divine Love, for in God, the apparent division between "Essence" and "Act" collapses, as shown in "The Anticipation":. The theme of the closing "Thoughts" suite of poems combines beginning with end by a fusion of the figures of Eden and the New Jerusalem. In this closing segment, Traherne's theme is the total disintegration of the commonsense categories of time and space:.
As in the Centuries , so here Traherne proceeds by rhetorical assertion of paradoxes to reconcile the irreconcilable. In "Thoughts. IV" the soul has discovered its response--in Being--to the words of the psalmist:. The closing sequence of the Dobell poems, then, moves from verse paraphrase of the Psalms, in a manner reminiscent of Meditations on the Six Days of the Creation , to language as in "Goodnesse" the final poem in the sequence inviting visions of the Apocalypse, this accompanied by sounds of "A Quire of Blessed and Harmonious Songs.
I," "Blisse," "Thoughts. II" "Ye hidden Nectars," "Thoughts. III," "Desire," "Thoughts. IV," and "Goodnesse.
II" the speaker declares, as an expression of the soul's freedom, the disintegration of the categories of time and space: "This Sight The mental process experienced at this stage of the development is characterized, again, by expansion, but an expansion which is literally infinite:. This closing section of the sequence is marked by a hesitancy--a seeming discontinuity--not as evident in earlier passages.
Themes from one poem emerge in the next, only to be dropped, and then to be picked up again, but again haltingly. II" begins almost where "Thoughts. I" ends, but between the two poems one finds "Blisse," framed as if to hint at an underlying process at play in the ongoing sequence. But in the fourth and last of the "Thoughts" poems, the speaker offers his response to the psalmist, whose lines precede the poem, which draws together figures of prophetic ascent and the New Jerusalem.
This has been Traherne's insistent theme in Christian Ethicks and in the Centuries. God feels through human senses the soul's love of God; hence, the soul's love of God is an aspect of divine "Circulation," or "Self-Love. At last, in the Wedding Supper of the Lamb, the speaker sees in the faces of others his own "Felicity.
It shows, if the earlier poems have not made this clear, that Traherne sought through his poetic art to answer the philosophical questions, "Who are we? Why are we here? What is the good life?
How Google Works
In this way, in every object, the love of God is "multiplied and magnified God created more than one man, and more than one species, for just this reason: to experience their goodness, and so to magnify by circulating his "Self-Love. Thus, "Goodnesse" ends with emphasis on figures of ripeness and satiety:. Traherne's contemporaries would have recognized the speaker's claim: the soul, transported in heavenly union, enjoys in the here and now the ultimate joys of the Wedding of the Lamb promised in Scripture.
The speaker no longer discriminates between the psalmist and Saint John at Patmos. Present in his view is a new "Heaven and Earth," extending--like the world beyond the world that the child perceived in "Shadows in the Water"--beyond the skies. Mystical transport entails new blessings for the senses, as the speaker hears "A Quire of Blessed and Harmonious Songs. The Dobell poems as a sequence, which went unrecognized by Traherne's early editors, left the integrity of the poems in the manuscript in Philip Traherne's hand in doubt. As Thomas Traherne's earliest editor and critic, Philip failed to see that his brother meant to organize the volume that came to be known as the Dobell manuscript as a meditative sequence: a meditation on the soul's love from birth to the eternal present of matchless wonder.
One then acts, and evokes, accordingly. But with a guiding principle of awareness as opposed to randomness or democratic or experimental or egolessness or any of these other incomplete in themselves buzzwords the flarflists have evoked, search engine collage can be an effective poethical  project. And one that somebody somewhere should be doing, right now, as Google expands and insinuates itself further and further into our lives.
And what are we telling each other when we use it? Skim through for a good example of how Wikipedia archives the process of entry formation and the disputes that arise due to polarized points of view, so that no one version of history is presented as absolute, and none are considered neutral.
Correction: I mistakenly attribute this poem as search engine flarf instead of the more general un-P. New York: Little, Brown and Company, pp 21— Mohammad, K. Silem Deer Head Nation. Oakland: tougher disguises. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, p. Likewise, flarfist Jordan Davis discusses email spam as poet in his For example the Mike Magee on what distinguishes flarf from historical experimental precedents which he lists as T. Other examples:. Also of note is his projective criticism of Fence magazine and its contributors:.
But the condescension returns on his Bush biography ranking 1 on Google, Yahoo!
Though personally I think one could make this argument about all poetry — that each poem is a Wittgensteinian ladder whose usefulness ends at its comprehension, or illusion of comprehension. Though of course one could extend this argument to say Yes, but the poem is different each time we read it because we are different. You should also be able to block or accept cookies from specific websites, though some like the Yahoo!
From the article available on Yahoo! News, Though Google has so far as of Furthermore, only days later Google agreed to censor search results in China e. Nor did it, as Mr. Weinstein [founder of Privacy Forum] and others have demanded, give users the right to see the data collected about them and their computers. Berkeley: University of California Press. Specific reference on p. Dan Hoy is co-editor of Soft Targets. I don't know. This chapter focuses on poetry's 'infinite delivery' in the form of landmark poems on Manchester's buildings, pavements and walkways.
It examines what Manchester's poetry in performance tells us about the dominant critical pretexts for literary approbation in Britain. Manchester's poetry in performance is often informal and neighbourly in tone and it frequently engages with local history and politics. The chapter considers the wider significance of such expression, exploring what the devolved aesthetics and poetics of the city's poetry reveal about the cultural politics of belonging and exclusion in multiracial Britain.
The chapter evokes the figure of 'the neighbour' as a compelling metaphor to describe black poets' relationship with contemporary English poetry. The focus on the neighbour allows the chapter to concentrate both on the cultural politics of belonging and on the extent to which black Mancunian poets and their white counterparts may be considered as 'compatriots in craft'.
He introduces a series of creative men who actually donned a uniform at some stage though not always willingly and fought at the front. Gerald Brenan was another fledgling writer in uniform who, like Aldington, felt his soul threatened by the strictures of war. Unlike Brenan, the poet Max Plowman declared his anti-war feelings and suffered a court martial. For Plowman and others, the experience of being within the war machine acted both as a compass towards and a justification of his later anti-war stance.
Two further examples of this process concerned possibly the most celebrated poets of the war: Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. Robert Graves's concern was with the outward effect of an anti-war protest on the very individuals whom Siegfried Sassoon was supposedly trying to influence. For some, the effects of the Great War seemed to turn time in upon itself, thereby unwinding the clock of human development to a darker age peopled by trench-dwelling brutes who had lost comprehension of what they were fighting over.
Just as Keeling expressed a moral objection to the introduction of compulsion, D. Calcutt of the Queen's Westminster Rifles deplored the general lowering of former standards of morality by which he had fixed his life and values.