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Monday, April 4, 2011

The Object Which Doesn't Exist


By now all the poets have weighed in on the poetry issue in O magazine.  It's so incongruous, I suppose, because it's so visible. Because it's examined as though it might be fashionable.  We're used to practicing a disappearing act. We're used to being dowdy and dusty and overlooked. We're used to having black bars across our eyes. We're used to being objects that don't exist.  To me it indicates a real thirst for poetry, and this is not just something reserved for poets alone.

I was thrilled to see Zbigniew Herbert's poem "Study of the Object" on the Oprah website.  Here is an excerpt:



Study of the Object

1

 The most beautiful is the object 
which does not exist 

 it does not serve to carry water 
or to preserve the ashes of a hero

 it was not cradled by Antigone 
nor was a rat drowned in it

 it has no hole 
and is entirely open

 seen
from every side 
which means 
hardly anticipated

 the hairs 
of all its lines 
join
in one stream of light

 neither
blindness
nor
death
can take away the object 
which does not exist

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