Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Yesterday, instead of writing an essay, I planted peas, radishes, spinach, and lettuce. In the large vernal pool at the edge of our clearing, the frogs are awake and croaking amid spats of rain and cold bursts of sun. The daffodil buds are beginning to slant and swell, garlic shoots are thrusting through the mulch, and Tom is spring-cleaning the basement.

Around the edges of all this I am reading Wuthering Heights and Federico Garcia Lorca's essay "Play and Theory of the Duende"--

Poets who have muses hear voices and do not know where they are coming from. They come from the muse that encourages them and sometimes snacks on them, as happened to Apollinaire, a great poet destroyed by a horrible muse who appears with him in a certain painting by the divine, angelic Rousseau. The muse awakens the intelligence, bringing a landscape of columns and a false taste of laurel. But intelligence is often the enemy of poetry, because it limits too much, and it elevates the poet to a sharp-edged throne where he forgets that ants could eat him or that a great arsenic lobster could fall suddenly on his head.

But the duende? "All that has black sounds has duende."

These "black sounds" are the mystery, the roots fastened in the mire that we all know and all ignore, the fertile silt that gives us the very substance of art. . . It is not a question of ability, but of true, living style, of blood, of the most ancient culture, of spontaneous creation.

I conclude, then, that Wuthering Heights most certainly has duende, but whether or not Emily Bronte also had a muse I cannot tell.


Maureen said...

Oh my, this leaves me with the image of a cannibal muse.

Dawn Potter said...

Yes, isn't it an unnerving image?