Thursday, 31 March 2011

Another Blog Entry There!

Hearing the ‘sudden thunder of the mounting swan’ as he looks over the lake in his wonderful poem ‘Coole Park and Ballylee’, the Irish poet W.B. Yeats declares excitedly, ‘Another emblem there!’; and in the lines that follow he transforms the swans into an image of the human soul flying off into the unknown. This is a splendidly high-handed Yeatsian moment, as he magically transmutes the natural object into an ‘emblem’ or metaphor of his own preferred psychical realities. Ecological critics have deplored the way he rides roughshod over the natural creature at such moments, but such is the energy of Yeats’s poetic rhetoric that one suspects he could pull off the same metamorphic trick with any stray bit of nature that he happened across.

Does a blog today have the same extraordinary (but also possibly high-handed) power of transmuting any random fragment of reality it comes across into its own substance? Is there any bit of the objective world out there, or any topic of debate, that could in principle not find its way into a blog, Morrisian or otherwise; that could resist to the death and not in the end be transmogrified? In his seminal ‘Metaphysical Poets’ essay in 1921, T.S. Eliot proposed that ‘The poets of the seventeenth century, the successors of the dramatists of the sixteenth, possessed a mechanism of sensibility which could devour any kind of experience’; and I wonder if that is not true of the genre of the blog today, that it can devour and digest anything whatsoever that it serendipitously happens across.

Is there any item or any topic out there, then, that could absolutely not, under any circumstances whatsoever, find its way into this blog, into ‘William Morris Unbound’? In the months and years ahead, dear reader, we shall surely find out!

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