October 31, 2013

What could it say that wouldn’t spasm us back to ourselves to be bait or a dead prayer?
–C. K. Williams

The rabbits are scattered,
left with nothing left
but their astonishment.
Winter has placed its silvery hands
on something growing in the ground,
a root and leaf, fresh in a nest, and it looks,
well, rather gracious in there, inviting,
a hutch for winter’s groundlings.

And yet, a rabbit trap is just
another old tin bucket with
a spring to seal it tight. It does not
take life, it snares it, leaves it whole
and whimpering. The cold will do the rest.
You smile, I know. As if to say,
Go ahead, lift it. Take a peek.
For there can be nothing underneath.

By God’s grace, starvation.
All is—and all must be—persuasion.


11 Responses to “Snared”

  1. Tom D'Evelyn Says:

    Have not heard Les McCann since my wayward youth. Love it!

  2. Tom D'Evelyn Says:

    Like every dialectical entity, nothing has others. Nothing is not one thing. Not even one no- thing.

  3. extrasimile Says:

    Tom: :Nothing is real? I think we need a little music here.

  4. Yousei Hime Says:

    Even the rabbit was persuaded to read and enjoy. Touching on various philosophies in the class I’m in. Love seeing them dance on the page.

  5. Tom D'Evelyn Says:

    I knew you wouldn’t take offence. Nihilism for me refers not just to “nothing is true” but that “nothing is real” — and not in the equivocal sense of nothing IS real, because THAT is not nihilism. Nothing IS real in the traditions I’m interested in, Christian and Taoist. There is an ongoing debate about this of course, but recently the non-nihilist Taoists seem to have the upper hand, and in Christian metaphysics there’s a return of the “creatio ex nihilo” in the sense of the ontological difference. My free time these days is spent on fleshing out the idea of a “poetics” of the between, the “between” being the metaphysics of the middle. I’m encouraged by your long-standing blog, as well as bebrowed’s, and hope to organize my various blogs, including the nihilism blog, into one.

  6. extrasimile Says:

    Thanks for the post, Tom.

  7. extrasimile Says:

    Actually the issue of nihilism is interesting here. At its extreme, nihilism—as in ‘nothing is true’—initiates an interesting dynamics. There is that nasty recursion—if it’s true, then it disproves itself and so on. I suppose ‘the nihilism of just looking’, Tom, is fashioned to get around that kind of statement. You simply don’t say it. Still, it must lurk in the shadows. An interesting way to avoid this to attribute the claim to someone else. One might say ‘He thinks that nothing is true.’—and let the chips fall as they may. Though, one interpretation—‘He’s so stupid, he thinks that nothing is true.’—reads more like an insult than an attempt at genuine philosophy. I take no offence, as it could also be attributed to the poem and the atmosphere it creates. The poem, of course does not actually mention nihilism. ‘Chilling’ might be a better way of putting it, though, John, in a world where nothing is true, all must be persuasion. But perhaps the poem is more convincing by itself.

  8. John Stevens Says:

    My word but that’s chilling, Jim!
    The last line is very interesting. I could not have seen that coming and the sudden leap leaves one pondering the whole piece again.

  9. Tom D'Evelyn Says:

    Just posted this on my nihilism blog: bottom after nihilism.

  10. Tom D'Evelyn Says:

    Well done piece of right-o nihilism! Cogent, compelling, the rhythms driving forward in a kind of amused horror. Tip of the hat to you!

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