NOTES: When, the Hush of Being?
This poem is divided into three sections. The first section runs from the beginning to the painted turtles. The theme of this section is the tension between the two sides of nature, the Beauty and the Ferocity. The Beauty is exemplified by the two loons (the 'white room' may remind one of a padded cell), the glorious sunrise, the whirligigs, the silver minnows, the hawk circling on benign winds, the blue heron, etc.; the Ferocity, by my aging, the distant city, the creosoted dock, the horseflies, the huge carp surging, the mice with bulging eyes, the heron's long neck knotted with prey, the water-snakes, the dead sunfish, etc.
The second section ~of "the poem, running, from 'I gaze/ the other way' to drifting away/in the morning mist,' I will come back to later.
In the third section of the poem the most vivid lines are: "I take off my clothes/and lie naked in the sun-/l lie suspended in the dazzling nest/of my decaying limbs-l could not have arrived at this metaphor rationally, and I am not absolutely sure how to interpret it. There is no doubt that it is a highly charged sexual symbol, and there is no doubt that its interpretation will vary from person to person. It seems to be a whole nest of complex allusions, licit, illicit, and certainly vital. It could be a crucifixion motif of sadism or masochism like the Christian cross, the core of the powerful self-contained dynamic of that myth; it could simply symbolize sun-bathing; or it could be a symbol of the mystical fusion of the individual nested in nature. The 'dazzle' itself may be seen as a mingling of the sunshine of youth and the phosphorescent shine of old age; and this is the interpretation I most consciously intended.
To return to the second section which I interjected between the first and second stanzas after they had been written as one poem. I remain fascinated by these lines from some uncompleted poem I found when I was rummaging through my box of spare parts. I wasn't sure what they meant, but I inserted them into the "hush of Being" as the second section. But still, I'm not sure exactly what their role in the poem is, but they seem to mark a pause between the first and last sections of the poem which deal with the hard, concrete, sensuous vividness of the real world. There is no motion in these lines; they seem to be a distancing, a momentary awareness of timelessness in contrast to the fierceness of time and space in the other sections. But I still ask myself, What symbolically, for example, are 'the green wastes of old stillness-and the 'white scattered trees'? And are the bitterns like ushers at the portal to an otherworldly dimension?
At the end of the poem, in the Coda, I ask: Where is my ultimate home, 'the home of my home?' Is it otherworldly? As an agnostic, I do not know but I am not afraid to admit (in spite of the lack of empirical evidence; in defense against the absurdity of death; for the sake of closure; and just for the fun of it) that I have an instinct that I was never born and that I shall never die. This instinct or intuition or instinct is always an expectation, but what it portends I do not know, perhaps nothing. It may express simply the wishful thinking of an animal's will to live.
But this intuition of immortality fulfills my innate desire for order and closure more than the empirical assumption that this conscious subject who I am, 'this here /uniqueness that I am/this dear spot/this focus of light-years' is the "absurd" result of a seven billion year old chance combination of inanimate objects and measurable elements. The scientific hypothesis about the origin of life may indeed be "true" in the objective mode of knowing, but it is not "real" in the subjective mode, the mode in which all value, beauty, and meaning originate and reside, which makes living worth living. Science (logic) cannot originate meaning; it describes only how, not why? "It is only in subjectivity that we may know existence, not in objectivity"