Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Random Journal Page

I wanted to get a post in today -- lest I let slip another two months -- but only have a few minutes before a department meeting. So, I thought I would offer a re-run. Not a post, but a random page from a journal. I grabbed a notebook from the wardrobe in my classroom (turned out to be the fall/winter 2005 journal) and opened to a random page. Here you go:

demand of the universe that it provide answers, that it unmask itself and reveal its meaning, even if "there's naught beyond," even if its meaning is, in fact, meaningless.

"Time was, when as the sunrise nobly spurred me, so the sunset soothed. No more... All loveliness is anguish to me." (37)

Now, Ahab has his reasons for feeling this and while might not relate completely to those reasons, I can certainly relate to the feeling itself. That sunrise that once spurred us becomes the sunrise that leaves us squinting and bleary becomes the sunrise that leaves us indifferent. And it's where he goes from there that is so marvelous:

"Gifted with the high perception, I lack the low, enjoying power." (37)

It's Prufrock. It's self-justification and self-abnegation rolled into one messy nautical package. He is damned, he says. Damned in the midst of paradise. Damned in the midst of that which he used to love so strongly. Damned in the midst of a universe that used to make sense, that used to present more answers than questions, that used to order itself in a perfect, aesthetically

And there the page ends. Sorry for the pretension of having it be about Moby-Dick (a classtime writing assignment, I'm sure), but once you decide to excerpt a random page, you can't go picking and choosing what the random page will be.


matt said...

"Gifted with the high perception, I lack the low, enjoying power" reminds me of archaic torso of Apollo, the speaker can see the beauty and vitality in the statue, but can't feel it, can't achieve it, like ahab, though ahab is abit more proactive than rilke's speaker, to say the least.
the "i can't really feel anything (like i used to)" thing was a bit before its time.

Anonymous said...

sorry, i unknowingly posted that comment while logged into a friend's account, that was zach, not matt.