Tuesday, November 25, 2008

On the immortality of the crab

Some of the recent threads on Harriet talk about how poets will be able to make a living in this new bad economy. Well, there never was a strong connection between poetry and making a living, as my old man well knew. Just now there's not a lot of money in anything. But there is, there has to be, survival. And letting the mind wander is something we'll need more of now as we re-imagine our financial futures, and perhaps even our political and social circumstances. As for poetry, no doubt something of it will not only survive but be - dare I (day)dream it? - immortal, and limitless (as in, you know, "language without limit").

The Spanish have an expression... Pensar en la inmortalidad del cangrejo. It's very poetical:

--¿En qué piensas?
--Nada, en la inmortalidad del cangrejo.

"What are you thinking about?" "Nothing. The immortality of the crab."

Here's a poem on the subject, attributed to Miguel de Unamuno:

Inmortalidad del cangrejo

El más profundo problema:
el de la inmortalidad
del cangrejo, que tiene alma,
Una almita de verdad ...

Que si el cangrejo se muere
todo en su totalidad
con él nos morimos todos
por toda la eternidad

It says that the most profound - deepest - problem is the immortality of the crab, which has a soul, a tiny soul: if it dies, then we all die with it, too, and for all eternity... But I digress. My mind is wandering. Too much information... Gotta go read more poetry.

(Read the full text of this post on Harriet by clicking here!)

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