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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Questions for JM:2

"Is there a 'subtle bridge' that joins the senses to the living flesh?"

Once again, this question is phrased as an existential one. Does this exist? Once again, I would rephrase this as a question of meaningfulness. How seriously should we take the metaphorical language in which Lorca speaks of his poetics? It might be helpful to see the context of the phrase:
Recordad el caso de la flamenquísima y enduendada Santa Teresa, flamenca no por atar un toro furioso y darle tres pases magníficos, que lo hizo; no por presumir de guapa delante de fray Juan de la Miseria ni por darle una bofetada al Nuncio de Su Santidad, sino por ser una de las pocas criaturas cuyo duende (no cuyo ángel, porque el ángel no ataca nunca) la traspasa con un dardo, queriendo matarla por haberle quitado su último secreto, el puente sutil que une los cinco sentidos con ese centro en carne viva, en nube viva, en mar viva, del Amor libertado del Tiempo.
The five senses: Lorca had written earlier that the poet should be a professor of the five bodily senses. Here he uses the sensory aspect of poetry in a different way, linking it to the mysticism of Santa Teresa de Ávila.

So yes, there is a subtle bridge between the sensory and a more mystical sense of the body. In other words, this is a meaningful way of talking about something of great importance.



6 comments:

Thomas said...

As I said when you first brought that passage to my attention, I sometimes "really do wonder whether my five senses are joined properly to that ocean of love."

el curioso impertinente said...

Hmmm.

If we throw away for a moment the modifying words and phrases, the basic sense of the sentence talks about "the bridge... that joins the five senses with that center...of Love freed from Time".

So it's really about that very Lorquian notion of enduring love, of love beyond death, of Love with a capital L as it's written here.

Explaining exactly how Lorca conceives of the duende's secret of how the senses and timeless love are intimately connected, I'll leave to somebody else...

Thomas said...

@Curioso: My questions come from a slightly different place. There is no shortage of people who are willing to take a crack at "how Lorca conceived of the duende", just as you can find many philosophers who'll happily tell you what they think Heidegger thinks the Dasein is.

A while back, however, Jonathan introduced the intriguing notion of "Mayhew's duende". This is what stimulated my questions. How are the senses and timeless love connected? Is this really a question we want to leave to others? How can we live without a working understanding of this "secret"?

Pound once said that metaphysics is something about which you only know what you find out for yourself. I'm not saying poetry and scholarship can't help us to understand the duende, but I'm wondering whether, specifically, Lorca can help us to understand the duende as such, not just Lorca's conception of it.

Again, as a parallel to Heidegger, I've always found it frustrating how little about actual existence philosophers will even claim to know after having read Heidegger, no matter how confident they may be about Heidegger.

el curioso impertinente said...

My point was just a simple, linguistic one: it seems to me that there's quite a substantial difference between a bridge between the senses and raw flesh, and a bridge between the senses and timeless love...

Thomas said...

I guess I always read "the living flesh, the living cloud, the living ocean of love liberated from time" as an apposition, so that "living flesh" = "living ocean of love liberated from time". The bridge runs from the five senses to the center of this thing—"the body", I suppose.

el curioso impertinente said...

...el puente sutil que une los cinco sentidos con ese centro en carne viva, en nube viva, en mar viva, del Amor libertado del Tiempo.

"en carne viva" modifies "centro"; as a set phrase I would translate as "in the raw". There aren't any definite articles here...

Riffing on "en carne viva", FGL then coins two more parallel phrases, which are of his own invention.

Then we arrive at Amor: ese centro [...] del Amor...