Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Poets Catch Strange Glimpses Of Reality

Photo - Margate Wandering 2008

I am afraid “wandering a little” is almost a hobby of mine - I began to consider whether, in this respect, London were the unique matter I had considered it. For, referring back the axiom to its most august origin: we are ready enough to confess – if we be not occultists, who know everything – that no man hath seen God at any time. But are we prepared to admit that no man hath seen anything at any time? Yet, this is most indubitably the truth. We see appearances and outward shows of things, symbols of all sorts; but we behold no essences, nor could we bear to behold them, if it were possible to do so… Tennyson [said] - that if any man could see a grain of wheat as it is in its essence, he would instantly become a raging maniac. We see nothing real, we can no more see anything real than we can take our afternoon tea in the white, central heat of a blast furnace. We see shadows cast by reality. The more foolish of us gather up some of the shadows and put them in saucepans and boil them and then strain: and find out that water is really H2O, which is true enough in its way, and will remain so: till it is found out that H2 is shorthand for ten distinct forces, while O is a universe of countless stars, all revolving in their eternal order about an unknown, unconjecturable orb. And this, again, will be a good working hypothesis - till, new discoveries call for an entire revision of all our notions on the subject. No; we see nothing at all; though poets catch strange glimpses of reality, now and then, out of the corners of their eyes.

The London Adventure p.69– Arthur Machen

No comments: