Poetic Investigations

Tom D'Evelyn on Poetry and Its Others (philosophy, theology, poetics)

Elizabeth Bishop on Joseph Cornel’s “cages for infinity”

A whole poem? Yes: faithful to the ambiguities of the everyday and to the forms of otherness that light them up.

Elizabeth Bishop, “Objects & Apparitions: for Joseph Cornell.”

Monuments to every moment,

refuse of every moment, used:

cages for infinity.

Notice the finesse of the wording: “for” infinity. Not “of.” Infinity always already outside our boxes! But our boxes may hold promise as gifts “for” infinity: an offering, a sacrifice, a prayer, a hymn.

The juxtaposition of the language of finity — use (time/matter; contingency) — and infinity suggests Bishop is thinking in metaxological terms. In other poems, she dramatizes life in time as it opens to the life beyond time. See “The Moose.”

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This entry was posted on August 13, 2014 by in Bishop, Finesse, finity and tagged , , .
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