Poem: Anne Carson

March 4, 2009

posted by Caroline Picard

So The Hall Door Shuts Again And All Noise Is Gone

by Anne Carson

digital-hero-waterproof-wrist-camera

In the effort to find one’s way among the contents of memory
(Aristotle emphasizes)
a principal of association is helpful-
“passing rapidly from one step to the next.
For instance from milk to white,
from white to air,
from air to damp,
after which one recollectes autumn supposing one is trying to
recollect that season.”
Or supposing,
fair reader,
you are trying to recollect not autumn but freedom,
a principal of freedom
the existed between two people, small and savage
as principals go-but what are the rules for this?
As he says,
folly may come into fashion.
Pass then rapidly
from one step to the next,
for instance from nipple to hard,
from hard to hotel room,
from hotel room

to a phrase found in a letter he wrote in a taxi one day he passed
his wife
walking
on the other side of the street and she did not see him, she was-
so ingenious are the arrangements of the state of flux we call
our moral history are they not almost as neat as mathematical
propositions except written on water-
on her way to the courthouse
to file papers for divorce, a phrase like
how you tasted between your legs.
After which by means of this wholly divine faculty, the “memory
of words and things,”
one recollects
freedom.
Is it I? cries the soul rushing up.
Little soul, poor vague animal:
beware this invention “always useful for learning and life”
as Aristotle say, Aristotle who
had no husband,
rarely mentions beauty
and was likely to pass rapidly from wrist to slave when trying to
recollect wife.

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