Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Spring and All (2)

The imagination can't save itself, I'm afraid.

Williams gives us the image of the Roman feast, where the guests eat until they can't eat any more, then throw up, and eat some more. Still, he says, "the powers of a man are so pitifully small, with the ocean to swallow" (28). A full stomach is necessary, in any case. "Having eaten, the man has released his mind" (29).

There has to be a "basis". We often don't notice how well these needs are covered, and therefore take the imagination for granted. The mind is released because the body is not anxious. (Pound talked of "freedom from worry", which any sane economy would provide to artists.)

But this also means that the imagination relies on everyday opportunities for work and play. It is an excess. Without a basis (a baseline of certainty and pleasure, let's say), there can be no imagination. There would be just the facts and our acts.

Maybe spring is precisely the promise of sufficiency in living. So the imagination stirs, ready to gorge itself on the excess.

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