Saturday, May 22, 2010

"as numinous as words"























There are moments when the body is as numinous
as words, days that are the good flesh continuing.


From "Meditation at Lagunitas" by Robert Hass.*

In Werner's Rowing Boat, Anders Zorn, 1917


*This is a great poem, I think. Click the link to read it and tell me what you find.

6 comments:

La Bonne Vivante said...

It is lovely, and a bit sad. Besides never having the words for anything in itself, one of my physicist friends once told me that it is impossible to actually touch anyone--on the atomic level, that is-- because our electrons and things create a little barrier. I know it's silly, but it made me very sad for a while, when I was young. I love the affirmation in spite of all this at the end of this poem, though, when the poet implies that we ought to enjoy our numinous flesh and say blackberry in pite of everything....Thanks so much for this.

Michael Sims said...

This is lovely. I enjoyed the full poem, and it was interesting to see the unexpected way the poem grew before it took the turn toward the lines that you quoted. I love reading in the poem Hass's comment about the woman whose body held for him many other associations besides their own shared experience. I love the way that we not only become each other's historians in the world, but we can be the focus, briefly, now and then, for another's joie de vivre, the epicenter of someone else's spectrum of joys. Then the moment is gone, but to be part of it is delicious, just as being aware that many things have come together in the presence of another to create our own excitement, joy, puzzlement, wonder, lust.

BitterGrace said...

Thank you for these wonderful comments. This is what I love about a great poem--it sends every reader off on a slightly different trajectory, and at the same time it links them to something shared and true.

ScentScelf said...

And for me, with all of the reflecting upon the turning this spring, the into the earth/out of the earth, followed up by the Narcissus poem, this reminds me of the beauty and the danger of falling deep within thought, yes? The body is numinous...and it is flesh...do we get lost in one, the other, or (shame!) lose sight of either?

Right now I am extra aware of how I read things through an extra layer of decade...bittersweet hauntings therein, and here in the poem...

I think I need to offer another thank you, is what I think.

Alyssa said...

What I think is--oh! Oh!

Oh that thin wire of grief.

Oh, love and memory. Oh, blackberries...

And I love the painting, too. She looks so naked, in a way nudes rarely do.

And I thank you, too!

BitterGrace said...

I'm really, really pleased that the poem delights. I feel like I brought an exceptionally delicious bottle of wine to a dinner party.

She is wonderfully naked, Alyssa. Zorn had a major thing for naked women in or near the water. He painted scads of them....