3 a.m. reading

So after reading Stephen King’s Desperation last night I had to read something nice, dense, and thought-provoking. It isn’t that this King novel isn’t thought-provoking, but the thoughts it provokes are ones I didn’t want to follow me to bed — the old good/evil dichotomy having its way with my mind. So … I tried Heidegger’s Poetry, Language, Thought … too dense. This book has great discussions of German poet, Rilke though so if you’re Rilke-obsessed (and I find no one just likes Rilke … they love Rilke), then check out this Heidegger masterpiece. And on the Rilke note, read Rilke’s wisdom in one collection called, The Poet’s Guide to Life. But I digress …

I looked in my “what to read in the night” reading log I keep and came across a quotation from Jean Cocteau: Poetry is a religion with no hope. This was a captivating observation however bleak and true it can be at times. I then decided to journal about this …

Not a day goes by … not one that I can think of at all … that poetry is not with me. It is like a shadow, a complex friend. If I am not reading it, I am writing it or revising it. It is akin to religion, and in its resemblance to religion … I am constantly mystified and often either joyous or saddened about what I find or cannot find there. But unlike religion, there really is no hope. A poem is static and in its inherent stasis one may find it increasingly hopeless. Or perhaps full of hope. I tend to lean toward the former knowing that as much as I love poetry and need it in my daily life, it keeps me often from working on my own baggage, my own inner chaos … the evident and irritating contradiction that I hate that I too often am.

Cocteau’s love poems in particular are painfully hopeless. But love, like poetry, like hope, is always something I am grasping for … I think everyone is.

Published in: on December 17, 2006 at 5:14 pm  Leave a Comment