Heidegger and the Poetic


A Sort of a Song




Let the snake wait under
his weed
and the writing
be of words, slow and quick, sharp
to strike, quiet to wait,
— through metaphor to reconcile
the people and the stones.
Compose. (No ideas
but in things) Invent!
Saxifrage is my flower that splits
the rocks.

William Carlos Williams




So I chose to post a poem by WCW for a couple reasons.  First, I have not totally been able to digest The Thing and so have had to resort to some other form of participation.  Second, while reading The Thing, I could not help but be reminded of poetry, and in particular WCW’s poetics.  Also, giving myself some time to peruse WCW’s vast repertoire I came upon a poem that I think it appropriate or at least poignant…one that indeed deals with ‘things.’  And finally after doing a bit of research was not surprised to find that Heidegger did seem to have a more than passing interest in poetry (although I am not sure that he ever published any).  Heidegger (like Emerson) regarded poetry as the truest form of language.  “The nature of poetry is the founding of truth.”  The poet, he wrote, “uses the word—not, however, like ordinary speakers and writers who have to use them up, but rather in such a way that the word only now becomes and remains truly a word.”


So as a final thought on this, perhaps we can entertain the idea of poetry as ‘gathering’, over mere representation.  It ‘holds’ and is what displaces the void like the water that fills the jug displaces the empty space contained therein and gives the thing (the jug) its function.  Poetry allows us to approach ‘nearness’ – both in the writing of it and the receiving of it.


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