John Ashbery's wonderful "Some Trees" seems in many ways a response to Wallace Stevens’s “The Snow Man.” In both poems, an object or group of objects in the material world, arbitrarily chosen and yet significant because of that choice, is the occasion for a meditation on how to live in that world, how to make one’s way through a world not of one’s making. In Stevens’s poem, one “must” have a winter’s mind, the mind of a man made of snow (which is to say, a man who is not a man at all), to look out on the winter landscape and perceive no misery there, in the sound of the wind and the leaves in the wind. But what does “must” mean? That one should have such a mind, that one should turn such a colder eye upon the world, declining to invest it with feeling and meaning? Or that only an actual snow man, “nothing himself,” at one with his wintry landscape (indeed, a feature of that landscape), could so see the world, perceiving “Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.” Given how much of something the poem presents us (nothing is nothing to see), asks us to behold, I would settle on the latter point of view.
“Some Trees” presents a friendlier landscape, although an equally contingent one. These are, after all, only “some” trees: there is no guarantee that any other trees will offer such muted epiphanies, or even that these trees would do so on a different morning. “These are amazing.” These and no other trees? Or would any group of trees so amaze, if looked at properly? (I am reminded that for William Carlos Williams, poetry was a mode of attention, and anything could become a poem if paid the right sort of attention.) These trees are amazing in part because they are in relation, “each / Joining a neighbor.” As Nietzsche wrote, before there can be one, there must be two: that everything connects is a never-ceasing source of wonder. And these mute trees speak, their “still performance” a silent analogue of speech. In his sonnet “Correspondences,” another poem about relation, Baudelaire wrote that nature is a living temple from whose pillars confused words issue forth. Are not these trees, some trees at least, such pillars in nature’s temple?
And we have arranged to meet by accident (a throw of the dice will never abolish chance, as Mallarmé has reminded us) far from the world and yet wholly within it, agreeing with its speaking picture, its silent discourse. As far from the world as agreeing with it is very close indeed, though never fully there (can we ever be fully there, fully present?), on this morning that seems full of possibility, as beginnings always seem to be. And suddenly we are “what the trees try // to tell us we are,” though the poem never tells us what that is (to do so might shut down possibility), or even who “we” are. The poem is intimate (every reader is invited to be part of this “we,” like these trees, each joining its neighbor) and yet distant, from the world, from any reader (who is this we of whom we are not only invited but assumed to be part?). The trees, after all, are together yet apart: rooted in place, they cannot move any closer to one another or, for that matter, any further apart.
But these trees mean something, or so that is what they try to tell us, whoever we are. But how do we know what they are trying to tell us, or that they are trying to tell us anything? It is in this way that the poem responds to “The Snow Man”: it is, after all, “a winter morning,” and the days are “Placed in a puzzling light” not unlike Stevens’s “distant glitter // Of the January sun,” cold light in which one sees “the junipers shagged with ice, / The spruces rough” in that distant glitter. More trees seen in winter light, some trees and not other trees (pine trees, junipers, spruces). The trees in Ashbery’s winter morning are probably bare too, perhaps also crusted with snow, shagged with ice. And maybe it is morning in Stevens’s poem, the sun not rising far above the horizon all day.
We behold some trees and they mean to us, we hear some wind and it means to us. We are not snow men. In Stevens’s poem, what we see is the burden the bare trees bear, but also the beauty of that burden: cold pastoral. What we hear in the wind’s sound, in the sound of the leaves the wind carries and drops, carries and drops, is misery. One must have a mind of winter not to hear it, and who has such a mind? Not the speaker of this poem. In Ashbery’s, we see those trees and somehow hear them too. They mean, but what they mean is the possibility of joy: “soon / We may touch, love, explain.” Not now, and not certainly, but we may, and we may soon. (This seems a bright and sunny winter morning, cold but invigorating.) The words that issue from nature’s pillars are after all confused, but that’s to be expected when speech has become a still performance, or rather, when it is as though a still performance were speech, as though speech had become such a tableau vivant.
We have not invented such loveliness (the loveliness of hope, the beauty of potential), and we are glad not to have. It is something beyond us, an outside that confirms and consoles us. It surrounds us, a comfort but also a constraint: contra Schopenhauer, the world is not all will and idea. As Stevens writes in his “Adagia,” “All of our ideas come from the natural world: Trees = umbrellas.” Or at least some trees do, a shelter from the rain or even from the snow.
The silence is already filled with noises (the noise of the wind, perhaps, of a few leaves in the wind, some leaves). The world around us, this little piece of it, this place in which we have arranged to find ourselves, to meet one another and our world by chance, is “A canvas on which emerges / A chorus of smiles” (the synesthesia is, I think, deliberate, the speech of a still performance, some trees’ soundless urgings). It is “a winter morning, / Placed in puzzling light”: we can experience but never wholly understand the world; the light discloses but does not explain. And it is moving: we are moved, whoever we are this morning, but the world is moving too, life is all motion. “Minute by minute they change,” writes Yeats; and Stevens reminds us that the blackbird whirling in the autumn winds (so close to winter, yet so far) is just a small part of the pantomime. The days are reticent, at least our days are reticent—or rather, our days have put on such reticence (the reticence that tells us so much once we choose to really listen, so much we have not invented but we have definitely interpreted). We may soon touch, love, explain (all these things that trees can’t do, not some trees, not any trees), but when we don’t know, or even if these things will happen at all. Right here, right now, these implications, innuendos, inflections of morning light seem sufficient: “These accents seem their own defense.” What else can be expected of the world but hints? That the world should speak at all, however reticently, in however puzzling a winter morning light, is enough, is amazing indeed.
Those sure are some trees.
This is an excerpt from my essay "Only in the Light of Lost Words Can We Imagine Our Rewards," which appears in the special section of Conjunctions issue 49 celebrating John Ashbery's eightieth birthday and also here on the Conjunctions web site.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Some Thoughts on John Ashbery's "Some Trees"
Posted by Reginald Shepherd at 11:56 AM
Labels: John Ashbery, Some Trees, The Snow Man, Wallace Stevens
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
‧直航機票‧自由行‧三久‧太陽能‧三久太陽能‧太陽能熱水器‧別墅外觀設計‧環保袋‧別墅外觀設計‧室內裝修‧電波拉皮‧hand dryer‧電波拉皮‧雷射溶脂‧肉毒桿菌‧工商登記‧公司登記‧投審會‧會計師‧會計師事務所‧系統家具‧台中漆彈場‧漆彈‧團體服‧美國月子中心‧團體服‧團體服‧團體服‧T恤‧宜蘭民宿‧關鍵字廣告‧seo‧網路廣告‧網路行銷‧seo‧網站設計‧seo‧線上客服‧seo‧網頁設計‧seo‧網頁設計公司‧網路行銷 ‧網路行銷‧桃園室內設計‧室內設計作品‧室內裝潢‧裝潢‧室內設計‧室內設計公司‧裝潢設計‧豪宅空間設計‧店面設計‧豪宅設計 ‧桃園室內設計公司‧別墅外觀設計‧室內裝潢設計‧台北室內設計‧新竹室內設計‧法拍屋‧中古車‧二手車‧環保袋‧環保袋‧肉毒桿菌‧醫學美容
‧淨膚雷射‧汽車美容‧法拍屋‧水餃‧期貨‧清潔公司‧實驗動物‧到府坐月子‧坐月子‧坐月子中心‧坐月子餐‧孕婦‧月子餐‧到府坐月子‧坐月子‧坐月子中心‧坐月子中心台中‧坐月子中心台北‧月子餐‧月子中心‧坐月子餐‧月子餐外送‧月子餐食譜‧找工作‧求職‧1111求職人力銀行‧104求職人力銀行‧104人力銀行‧統一發票5 6月‧104人力銀行‧104求職人力銀行塑膠袋‧統一發票1 2月‧塑膠袋批發‧塑膠袋工廠‧金價‧黃金價格‧統一發票3 4月‧1111人力銀行‧1111人力銀行求職‧黃金價格查詢‧中古車買賣塑膠袋 ‧統一發票3 4月 ‧塑膠袋批發 ‧中古車 ‧中古車買賣‧台北人力銀行‧金價查詢‧sum中古車‧中古車‧貸款‧信用貸款‧房屋貸款
Oes Tsetnoc one of the ways in which we can learn seo besides Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa. By participating in the Oes Tsetnoc or Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa we can improve our seo skills. To find more information about Oest Tsetnoc please visit my Oes Tsetnoc pages. And to find more information about Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa please visit my Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa pages. Thank you So much.
Oes Tsetnoc | Semangat Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa
喜餅禮盒 喜餅價格 訂婚禮盒 訂婚喜餅
素食月子餐 飛梭雷射 柔膚雷射 獸醫師 鞋 創業鞋之澡堂 洗鞋子 洗包包加盟彌月禮盒 彌月禮 玻尿酸 皮膚科 皮膚科診所 肉毒桿菌 肉毒桿菌瘦臉 脈衝光 除斑 Flex PCB PCB Electronic PCB 衝孔網 菱型網 不鏽鋼 壯陽 成人用品春藥 壯陽藥品 持久 手工水餃 中華湯包 mini usb 催情 增大 模具廠 104法拍網 信義房屋 房屋買賣 台北法拍屋 塑膠射出成型 模具 Odm 塑膠射出模具 Oem代工廠 塑膠射出 塑膠射出廠 模具設計 Precision Mold加盟創業 冷凍宅配 宅配美食 Light guide panels Plastic Products Mold design 沖孔網
進口燈飾 吊燈 led燈 燈飾 磁鐵 消毒 抽水肥 抽化糞池通水管 水管不通 水管不通 化糞池清理 洗水塔 加盟創業 創業加盟 冬令營禮盒包裝 電腦回收 資源回收 禮盒 化妝品盒 藥盒 燈具 禮盒 印刷供應商 彩色盒 禮盒 設計 網版印刷 紙盒工廠 印刷公司 印刷 彩色印刷 包裝 設計pe膜 冬令營 冬令營breading machine food processing equipment frying machine 創業 加盟 早餐店加盟 meat processing equipment food processing mixers 化糞池 通馬桶
馬桶不通 food forming patty machine boiling machine 化妝品包 裝 紙盒 breading machine vegetable machine日立冷氣 教育訓練 品質管理 Ohsas 18001casino gaming machine 泰國清邁 iso認證 iso團體旅遊簽證 slot game machine slot machine cabinet 便宜機票展場設計 二手車 中古車 Bmw 中古車買賣 汽車借款gaming machine manufacturer gaming machine 大陸直航彌月禮盒團購美食油飯麻糬
金價查詢 月子餐 月子中心 坐月子餐 月子餐外送 月子餐食譜 統一發票9 10月 金價 統一發票9 10月 找工作 統一發票7 8月 求職 1111求職人力銀行 104求職人力銀行 104人力銀行 統一發票5 6月 104人力銀行 104求職人力銀行 塑膠袋 統一發票1 2月 金價 黃金價格 金價查詢 黃金買賣 環保袋 肉毒桿菌 黃金 統一發票3 4月 坐月子 sum中古車 1111人力銀行 104求職人力銀行 1111人力銀行求職 黃金價格查詢 中古車買賣 塑膠袋 統一發票9 10月 塑膠袋批發 中古車 中古車買賣消防公司 地板施工 網路廣告 網路行銷
素食餐廳 交友 婚友 婚友社 婚友聯誼 愛情公寓 相親 相親銀行 聯誼 命理網 姓名學Hook and Loop 婚禮佈置 情人花束 新竹花店婚友聯誼社 愛情會場佈置 氣球佈置二手車健檢 醫學美容 淨膚雷射 汽車美容 法拍屋 水餃 清潔公司 塑膠袋批發 塑膠袋工廠 實驗動物 到府坐月子 坐月子 坐月子中心 坐月子餐 孕婦 月子餐 到府坐月子 中古車 今日金價 坐月子中心 坐月子中心台中 坐月子中心台北 台北人力銀行
房屋貸款 剖腹生產 姓名配對 星座 星座運勢 算命 素食料理 素食水餃 開運印章 風水 外遇 徵信 壁癌 屋頂防水 屋頂隔熱 抓漏 油漆 徵信社 外遇 徵信 徵信社 外遇 徵信 徵信社 外遇 徵信 徵信社 外遇 徵信 徵信社 外遇 徵信 徵信社 清潔公司浴室 漏水 舊屋翻新 裝潢 防水工程 壁癌 健康飲食 台北素食餐廳 吃素 團購美食 水餃 素食素食食譜
馬桶 馬桶不通 國外旅遊 國外機票 團體旅遊 直航機票 簽證熱水器 蘭花 化糞池 抽化糞池 便宜機票 國內旅遊 抽水肥 太陽能 水管不通 洗水塔 消毒 通水管 通馬桶 馬桶 馬桶不通 上順旅行社 五福旅行社 大興旅行社 天喜旅行社 天福旅行社 日本旅行社 日本旅遊 日本機票 日本自由行 日本訂房 包通 抽化糞池 抽水肥 水管不通 洗水塔 自由行 訂房 雄獅旅遊 汽車美容 汽車美容 三久太陽能黃金價格查詢 貸款 信用貸款
Post a Comment