BECKETT MEETS BASHŌ
Samuel Beckett, lean, hawk-like, dressed in black, sits beneath a lone tree, waiting for nothing to happen, staring into the ground, running one frail hand through his white hair, his face a visage of Edvard Munch’s, “Skirk” (Scream)…silent…a loss of words.
Matsuo Kinsaku, across the road from him, sits beside his beloved banana plant (Basho)… something like a smile in his presence.
To drill one hole after another
into it until that which lurks behind,
be it something or nothing,
starts seeping through—I cannot
imagine a higher goal for today’s writer.
[from THE LETTERS OF SAMUEL BECKETT, Vol II)
Over and over there is a soft place
in my heart for all that is over, no,
for being over, I love the word,
words have been my only loves, not many.
[from THE LETTERS OF SAMUEL BECKETT, Vol II]
I would like my love to die
And the rain to be falling on the graveyard
And on me walking the streets
Mourning her who thought she loved me.
[from IRELAND IN POETRY]
I use the words you taught me. If they don’t mean
anything anymore, teach me others.
Or let me be silent.
Perhaps my best years are gone. When there was a
chance of happiness. But I wouldn’t want them back.
Not with the fire in me now. No, I wouldn’t want them back.
[from KRAPP’S Last tape]
Go to the pine if you want to learn about the pine, or to the bamboo if you want to learn about the bamboo. And in doing so, you must leave your subjective preoccupation with yourself. Otherwise you impose yourself on the object and do not learn. Your poetry issues of its own accord when you and the object have become one – when you have plunged deep enough into the object to see something like a hidden glimmering there. How¬ever well phrased your poetry may be, if your feeling is not natural – if the object and yourself are separate – then your poetry is not true poetry but merely your subjective counterfeit. –Basho