I've never been forced to emigrate, so I don't know what it feels like to be an exile. Nonetheless, I'm drawn to poems made from that dynamic. There must be something deep about the condition of exile as such, something that mesmerizes me into that special complex of melancholy/dislocation. It must signify a certain tonality within myself. And maybe why I'm attracted to poetry in general.
Poems of exile seem to express or reveal an important latency inherent in language. Poems of exile have a distinctive quality, and I think they might contain a semantics of soul beyond the particular and the literal. Those poems might be rumors of answers to questions having to with the subtlest elements of aesthetics (the spectrum and texture of qualities).
I wonder if there are forms of exile other than the geographical?
Maybe dreams are situations of quasi-exile. They place one within the coordinates of novel and problematic experience, requiring improvisation and elasticity from the sleeping spirit. We are wanderers from a somewhere, moving through an elsewhere and toward a neverwhere. We improvise from a vague store of memories and moods as we attempt to navigate among beings and within circumstances that are as foreign as an unknown language.
Time might be another form of exile. We are distanced from older happenings and impressions by spaces of duration. Perhaps we continually grieve in our unconscious precincts for the lost things that time has taken and hidden or half-hidden from us. The inexorable flow of moments eventually leads to a parting of ways with loved ones -- age takes them away to a land of fog and fading. Death exiles us from those who were the landscapes and cornerstones of our souls.
|Old horizon, 1928|