Language & the Arts

“It is possible to experience every object, natural or man-made, aesthetically. We do this when we just look at it (or listen to it) without relating it, intellectually or emotionally, to anything outside itself. When a man looks at a tree from the point of view of a carpenter, he will associate it with various uses to which he might put the wood; and when he looks at it from the point of view of an ornithologist, he will associate it with the birds that might nest in it. When a man at a horse race watches the animal on which he has put his money, he will associate its performance with his desire that it may win. Only he who simply abandons himself to the object of his perception will experience it aesthetically.”
— Erwin Panofsky

“Seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees.” – Robert Irwin

The Absence of Proof

Chaos lasts; orders all go by.
The chaos, not the orders, is where we live.

What is it to write a poem, that ordering —
who does it? What does it do? As if to say
—  what does it say? — that we might trap it here,
sing siren, seduce it to this shape?

June now, sweet roses accent the road.
It is as though shapes were: patterns, lines.

In there, we pose ourselves for proof. Take trial.
Oh, we pass time, assuming time,
race against it, against all or one.
Contest. Measure. In spite of no contest here,
no goals, gains, rules. Only infrequent worlds
mean something, are known or said to be known.

— William Bronk

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