Allen Ginsberg on Dharma Poetics -15 (Williams – 2)

A horse-drawn cab c 1896, New York City – photo from the Library of Congress

AG: Just one brief example of him (William Carlos Williams) noticing something around him “The Horse.”

“The horse moves/ independently/ without reference/ to his load/  He has eyes/like a woman and/ turns them/ about, throws/ back his ears/and is generally/conscious of/the world. Yet/  he pulls when/he must and/pulls well, blowing/fog from/  his nostrils/like fumes from/ the twin/exhausts of a car.”

So his metaphor is, like saxiflage, taken from direct perception.

Or here, a more direct example of subtle, direct, exact, precise seeing something, like a Zen master painting a little calligraphic picture of birds:  “The Maneuver”

The Maneuver

“I saw the two starlings/ coming in toward the wires./ But at the last,/ just before alighting, they/ turned in the air together/ and landed backwards!/ that’s what got me – to/ face into the wind’s teeth.”

So he actually saw the birds coming down on the wires no less – not on the branch of the rose tree – but on the wires, on the electric wires above his house – and, in descending, turning around “to/face into the wind’s teeth” – to land against the wind, which is the way starlings do land, actually.  If you notice them.

Larry Fagin:  (Amazing!)

AG:  Yes, and then “that’s what got me” is his American-ese acknowledgement of the amazement.  An appreciation of his own noticing and appreciation of their eternal history -that they’ve taken billions of years to learn that one.  Billions of lifetimes to get to that.

to be continued

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