"In order that the mind may not be taxed, moreover, by the manifold and confused reading of so many such things, and in order to prevent the escape of something valuable that we have read, heard, or discovered through the process of thinking itself, it will be found very useful to entrust to notebooks ... those things which seem noteworthy and striking."

[Commonplace books: Thomas Farnaby, 17th-century]

Human life without some form of poetry is not human life but animal existence...What will happen to the public--to that portion of it divorced from any real art of the simplest kind--I do not know. Yet an analogy occurs to me. One sees, in the shops of certain mountainous regions of Austria, bands of silver links, clasped like necklaces, which have at the front jeweled or enameled silver plates, sometimes quite large ones. These pieces of jewelry are called goiter-bands: they are ornaments which in the past were used to adorn a woman's diseased, enormously swollen neck. If the women who wore them could have been told that they had been made hideous by the lack of an infinitesimal proportion of iodine in the water of the mountain valley in which they lived, they would have laughed at the notion. The would have laughed even more heartily at the notion that their necks were hideous--and their lovers would have asked, as they looked greedily at the round flesh under the flaxen pigtails, how anyone could bear to caress the poor, thin, scrawny, chickenish necks of those other women they now and then saw, foreigners from that flatland which travellers call thew world.

[Goiters: Randall Jarrell, Poetry and the Age]

Posted by stronzo on 10.25.2011


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