Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jason for day 11

On First Looking into Ashbery's Self-Portrait

That one might speak of the soul
as if it appeared as plainly as the nose
on one's face, or the color of one's eyes;
malleable to be sure, but at great
cost, at great pain, but still, visible,
seen, always right there for anyone
at hand. Who can speak of the soul
in this day when Plato seems as flimsy
as Soviet propaganda. We have found
the mirror neurons that make us feel
empathy. We have found the chemicals
of joy and pleasure, studied even
the body's knowledge of love,
how it lasts most intensely for a year,
how it fades and then fades and then
fades. We don't even argue for a soul,
since the soul is the province of faith
now, nothing the rationalist even
wants to contemplate. And yet
the plain secret is not that the soul
is too far away, but rather that it
is close. The truth is that the soul
may be spoken about and may be
understood. The soul must stay
where it is. I must stay where
my soul is.

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