>I don't know. Maybe indirection is all there is. Yes, there is Nelly
>Sachs. How many others could go AT the Holocaust? Chaim Bialik could write
>"In the Town of Death" (also called "City of Slaughter") after the Kishinev
>pogroms but murder hadn't yet become an industrial enterprise. So what are
>we left with? Words, surely, but what can of poetry can it make?
>What 'poem' indeed? I have tried to write about some of this. I cannot do
>it. I don't have the language to raise these stories beyond they are here,
What leads on the path from Primo Levi's initial forceful testament If This
Is A Man, to the wracked and fragmented Periodic Table, where by speaking
indirectly, the horror seems to be there all the more totally?
And for those at a remove by accident of birth or time, what can they write,
in what language? Geoffrey Hill's Triumph of Love is restricted to a kind of
moral landscape of rhetoric, and I find it powerful because of it. Maybe
this too is "indirection" but it seems like poetry directed at that which
can be examined at this remove, the specific use of language.
Perhaps in one way, because I think there are memories that we have not
lived through, we can write out of that memory, but it won't be witness, it
might be something like aftershock. But how to avoid memorial for memory?
When people have spoken their experiences, then I think one should simply
point to their records, their testament, their writing, and poetry cannot (I
can't quite make that an imperative should not) speak for those who can and
have spoken. Which is why listening to people's stories - as described -
seems more important. And then what. And then?
Sometimes I want to ("go AT") the events my own family - Anglo-Japanese and
caught up in devastation, defeat, victory during the second world war -
lived through but when I try to do this it always veers away in my hands
from anything personal. How terrible to trespass. But is it always trespass?