Reading Bachelard, Poetics of Reverie. What everybody read back in the 60s or so. Fine Gallic stouthearted defense of poetry's useful dreamy uselessness. Seems rather French, how he says he spent decades trying to reconcile conceptual reason and imagination, until he finally realized they were irreconcilable, dialectical contraries, etc. The English would rather meander in an undecisive manner between the two.
That "poetry" dream I had recently - seems so oddly familiar, almost like a cliche or pantomime... was it more like a "waking dream"? The impression was strong, the feeling extraordinary. (Was I thinking about my daughter, who got married that very day in Bangladesh?)
I am pondering my usual conundrums today (quiet at work, nobody here).
Artists & poets in the borderland between reason & dream. So that when I had that "Shakespeare/Bible" crisis back in 1973, my mind was a vulnerable. (There's some psychological term for the breakdown of reason & fall into a more primitive, regressive state - mise en abime? I forget.)
Experience like a 2-sided mirror. I mean there's a subjective/psychological explanation, & then there are other ways of interpreting the same things...
I have faith now : but I don't want to find myself trapped in a regressive-mythological frame of mind. So I try to understand these mysteries.
Americans perhaps have to choose between Eliot & Emerson. Between doctrinal allegiance and Romantic spiritual individuality. & being Episcopalian is akin to androgeny : you're Protestant-Catholic.
Charles Peirce somewhere writes about how God must be the always-new, the continually-creating. That's close to Emerson, and the dignity of the Romantic poet's office : the creative Lux Fiat of the imagination.
The dignity of the poet's office : the Russians, the Petersburg Russians, seem to have a special understanding of this. The regal Akhmatova, the tigress Tsvetaeva, the kingly Mandelstam, the princely Brodsky. (They got it from Pushkin, mainly.) The lordly regalia of the creative Imagination (Coleridge's great "I AM.")
As a Protestant, I think of the Biblical-Hebraic tradition as essentially iconoclastic and writerly. Yahweh the revolutionary, the universalist, the unknowable - the One who challenges every merely human myth and cultural idol and local tradition, on behalf of a more stringent ethos. A disenchantment on behalf of the truth.
As a Catholic, I think the truth is actually mysterious, elliptical, and feminine : I think the truth is love-beautiful in its incarnate and particular splendor.
Truth is not abstract : the Word is Psyche. Life is pathos, and charity means self-sacrifice.
As somebody who takes an interest in Nicolas Cusanus and Giambattista Vico, I have this sense of history and anthropology as "conjectural" (in Cusanus' sense). That is, all our human doings are imaginative projections; we impose the very orders we live by. We enslave ourselves to traditions and habits of our own making. It's both frightening & liberating to recognize that we make the world we inhabit. It is a recognition at the root of the world-historical struggle for political freedom.
But there is another, more curious, conjecture I maintain, until proven otherwise. I distinguish somewhat between all these human imaginative constructs, and the founding event(s) memorialized & chronicled in the Bible. I actually believe that, beneath the murky & ambiguous testimonies of scripture, there lurks some kind of intervention from "outside". (I am not saying I'm a Biblical literalist, however - not at all. I think the Bible is endlessly-interpretable in all kinds of allegorical & psychological ways.) This intrusion of the Word - from its origins in Mosaic exodus to its conclusion in Christ - marks out a differential reality or space : an iconoclastic, anachronistic break-through. The plumbline of justice depends from a space above the human : the space of "the Father", of the One of whom every human being is a partial image and replica. I say "iconoclastic" because the Biblical event uprooted every myth and dependency outside the purely human relation with this "plumbline". As the New Testament puts it (roughly from memory), all power & authority have been delivered into the hands of the Son, and no one knows the Father except through the Son. One way to intepret this is as I just have done : ie. the Incarnation ratifies and authorizes the complete humanization of reality, but strictly in terms of a primary relationship with the original source of this order. And from whence did the (providential) plan for this manifestation of order proceed? My guess is that it came, somehow, from our own future : the intervention of the Word involves some sort of feedback loop, which we don't yet comprehend.
Someday perhaps the traditional & patriarchal concepts of scriptural authority will give way to a new understanding of human imagination, writing, and truth. As Isaiah puts it somewhere, "they will all know Me in their own hearts". This is where the feminine imagination of reality (poetry), and that iconoclastic, elusive & hidden Will (represented in scripture), might meet (in some ultimate Song of Songs).
John Berryman, dancing his antic (Hamlet-like) St. Vitus' dance on the edge of all these things.