Nineteenth Century Poetry – 8  (Allen Ginsberg and Helen Luster Debate Metaphysics – 3)

Sophocles (497/496 BC – 406/405 BC)

Allen Ginsberg on Shelley and “Mutability” continues from here

AG: But ultimately the final glimpse is something about that I think which is some kind of an awesome open space that doesn’t care and isn’t sad.  Which is our own minds, also.  In our own minds, also.  An awareness that’s beyond caring that accommodates to it, just like the sky accommodates to the clouds.  And I think the highest poetry gets to that – sort of Sophoclean.  It’s what they called Sophoclean.  There’s that funny little line in Pound that gets a little of that.  It’s “Stand ever in the hard Sophoclean light and take your wounds from it gladly.” (Editorial note –  from “Xenia” – “Move among the lovers of perfection alone/Seek ever to stand in the hard Sophoclean light/And take your wounds from it gladly”)   I guess by “Sophoclean” he meant Sophocles saw strife and people crushed by strife and Oedipus ripping his eyes out and saw it as part of a larger picture and then saw the space around it and saw it in a way unmovingly and pretty compassionately or pityingly, but not scared or frightened or disappointed.

Helen Luster: (Given this idea it’s) something like science fiction, you get into this idea that we are here sort of to create some robots that are going to … that are beyond mutability..
AG:  Well, that would be the idea of progress.
Helen Luster:  Yeah, that would be..  And they’d go out in this space which would be practically limitless.. so there wouldn’t be any…
AG:  Robots riding around in space!  We’re all a bunch of robots riding around in space!  That’s like “Vivre? les serviteurs feront cela pour nous.“, Phillippe-Aguste Villiers de L’Isle-Adam, in the 19th century saying, “We can get our servants to do our living for us.” –
“As for life, we can get our servants to do our living for us.”
Helen Luster:  Well, maybe we’re here to create these … these sooner or later.
AG:  Well, if they’re pretty and they can make love, I wouldn’t mind.
Helen Luster:  Yeah.  Why not?
AG:  If you can order them around, then they might be temporarily pleasant.  But also it might attract to crush.
Helen Luster:  Well, that’s….
AG:  When you have your robot doing your bidding for the millioneth time.  It’s like masturbation sort of – the robot’s out there.
Peter Orlovsky:  Well, a vacuum cleaner looks a little bit like a robot as well.
AG:  Yeah.
Helen Luster:  Well….
Peter Orlovsky:  A washing machine.
Helen Luster:  Taking over the…  first thing you know, they’ll be taking over (first thing we know, we’ll be their pets)
AG:  Well, that’s Shelley’s shot on mutability, which is a young shot.  And lyric.  But he’s still got something that lingers.  I don’t know.

to be continued

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately forty-five-and-a-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately fifty-and-a-half minutes in

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *