Monday, November 9, 2009

The Event

In physics, an event is the intersection of the three dimensions of space and the dimension of time. In ritual, I would say, an event is the coordination of sacred space and sacred time. W.H. Auden discusses the event poetically:

Between those happenings that prefigure it
And those that happen in its anamnesis
Occurs the Event, but that no human wit
Can recognize until all happening ceases.

An event is what happens between foreshadowing and retrospection, yet it is unrecognizable until its passage. It is only knowable in retrospect rather than in the moment. Perhaps. I think it is strange to express this in the perpetual present of poetry. Can there by retrospective poetic moments? Or is poetry, at least modern (and non-epic) poetry, only introspective? As such there is no poetic event, since there is no moment to see it from. Perhaps this is the point of the final line: "until all happening ceases." Is this the "happening" of a single event? Or is THE Event (which a capital E) all happening--all existence, all the ephemera that happens under the sun. As such, we cannot recognize the Event until the end of it all, the ultimate retrospection when all is seen in relation to all. THE Event is only recognizable from a non-human, a God's-eye view.

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