Place, Pastness, Poems: A Triptych

Seamus Heaney at Salmagundi:

It is well, at certain hours of the day and night, to look closely at the world of objects at rest. Wheels that have crossed long, dusty distances with their mineral and vegetable burdens, sacks from the coalbins, barrels and baskets, handles and hafts for the carpenter’s tool chest. From them flow the contacts of man with the earth … The used surfaces of things, the wear that the hands give to things, the air, tragic at times, pathetic at others, of such things—all lend a curious attractiveness to the reality of the world that should not be underprized.

Neruda’s declaration that “the reality of the world … should not be underprized” implies that we can and often do underprize it. We grow away from our primary relish of the phenomena. The rooms where we come to consciousness, the cupboards we open as toddlers, the shelves we climb up to, the boxes and albums we explore in reserved places in the house, the spots we discover for ourselves in those first solitudes out of doors, the haunts of those explorations at the verge of our security—in such places and at such moments “the reality of the world” first wakens in us.

more here.