The Kingfishers

Excerpt of a poem by Charles Olson: 

                      III

                      I am no Greek, hath not th’advantage.

                      And of course, no Roman:
                      he can take no risk that matters,
                      the risk of beauty least of all.
 
                      But I have my kin, if for no other reason than
                      (as he said, next of kin) I commit myself, and,
                      given my freedom, I’d be a cad
                      if I didn’t. Which is most true.
 
                      It works out this way, despite the disadvantage.
                      I offer, in explanation, a quote:
                      si j’ai du goût, ce n’est guères
                      que pour la terre et les pierres.
 
                      Despite the discrepancy (an ocean    courage    age)
                      this is also true: if I have any taste
                      it is only because I have interested myself
                      in what was slain in the sun
 
                              I pose you your question:
 
                      shall you uncover honey / where maggots are?
 
                              I hunt among stones
 
 
Here’s a great analysis of this poem: from Sibila. The resounding question of the poem is, according to the linked explanation: Is our Western heritage salvageable?
 
The answer, or at least the quest for an answer, lies in returning to what’s real: the material earth. So Olson hunts among stones.
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