Sunday, December 25, 2022

Poetry amid plague …

To Draw the Mortal Hours: On James Matthew Wilson’s “The Strangeness of the Good”. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Wilson distinguishes two meanings of “good.” The first is the more familiar. He would call it sentimental. Wilson’s preferred meaning can be thought of as ontological. “Good Friday, 2013, Driving Northward” has potentially the most banal of premises: the speaker is driving home in the dark, having promised his wife he would arrive before the children wake. Somewhere in the Appalachians, the humblest of events occurs: dawn. Wilson likens it to “deep breathing underneath a blanket, / Where things declare themselves by being what they are within; / So much, it seems, that every blessed thing which comes to light / Stands forth to show its birth from that first fruitful wakefulness.” The poem concludes: “[A]ll is blessing, all is light.”   

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