Thinking About Literature


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I wrote this piece a while back and I post it here as my first literature item.-Ron Price


Dante had at his disposal a comprehensive and intellectually consistent image of the cosmos and its relationship to God.-Harold L. Weatherby, The Keen Delight: The Christian Poet in the Modern World, University of Georgia Press, Athens, 1975, p.5.
In an age profoundly infected with philosophical scepticism the problem of writing sacred poetry, the great song, requires that we recapture a genuine science of invisible things. This can be done through a grasp by the poet of both the external and internal worlds. The poet conveys his creative intuition into a receptive intuition. -ibid. pp.123-149.
The poet, who is a member of the Baha’i community, has before him every atom in existence and the essence of all created things1. There is no break between nature, art, poetry, science, religion and personal life. It is all one, a dynamic unity amidst multiplicity, amidst an organic body of ideas. On the basis of a vast corpus of sacred Writings this same poet has before him a massive body of religious literature. Its frameworks of systematic theology, philosophy, epistomology, ontology, aesthetics, theophanology, history and psychology are, for the most part, in their early stages of development. But the foundation is there for a rich and fertile global literature to evolve within a fusion of opposites, on some ladder of reflection and, inevitably, amidst a complex cross-fertilisation. -Ron Price, The Emergence of a Baha’i Consciousness in World Literature, Unpublished Manuscript, 1996.

You get enough principles here
to build a cosmos in your brain,
to wander with Dante
through his world of keen delight,
to rebuild his model,
a reconstructed universe.

This is far more than mere living,
of simply amusing yourself
like some restless dilettante spectator
on the lounge room couch;
this is appreciation, deep and full,
far beyond a momentary touch of sorrow;
this is some vortex spinning with ideas,
driving its readers into their own memory,
back into a reverie, past depths
and the vagueness of past-times
into a oneness
that is slowly sweeping the face of the earth,
a search that is self-expression.

This universe, this cosmos, this self,
its likes and dislikes, comings and goings,
faults and weaknesses
are one entity,
even in its contradictions:
the oneness of a microcosm
in its egotism and limitations,
walking backwards or forewords,
in some new Rome at the crossroads,
in some solitude and aloneness
which is necessary and unavoidable,
bringing the past and the future into now,
with delicate scents, pulsations,
unnameable tactile sensations,
with an anxiety surrounding
my moments of tranquillity
but with light as the basis of structure
and darkness always at the periphery,
on an inner lifeline of such complexity,
such a seismographic record and sensibility,
such a breadth of compass
within the distilled sphere of these words
and their fusion of opposites.

Ron Price
18 August 1996

1Baha’u’llah, Hidden Words.