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in plain air 215
And that brute, Robert Frost. I like them, though.
Why Santayana? Surely you want Saussure.
And Rilke's missing.
Really I much prefer
Hardy. He's fading fast. Herbert? OK ...
And Homer? Fine. My dirty words? Passť.
Here, try a Barthes.
Somehow it lacks allure,
Such is my hesychastic mood today.
Cold dead light, and the beach, from the long rain,
Like a mud-fl at under this low cloud-cope; though where
Sun lights the cloud's far edge a pane of clear
Yellow sky joins it to the steady line
Of the horizon; and tiny and black, and fi ne
In detail, an oil rig sits precisely there
On the skyline, like some miniature
Electronic component, the thin struts showing plain.
And the space out there clear and empty and fi ne,
Ready for God to fi ll -- like an Inness, a Lane,
Or even a Hopper: and I think of their
Frank and mystical love of light, and plain
Shapes in the great vacancies of air,
And taking comfort in the bare and spare.
Hopper, to whom the `mystical' doesn't exactly apply, said, `What I wanted to do was to paint
the sunlight on the side of a house.' Inness spoke of `the hidden story of the real.' With Lane I
had especially in mind the wonderful
Owl's Head, Maine. -- Santayana writes of the `some-
thing in the human spirit
(which is not merely human), something unreclaimed and akin to
the elements,' that is perhaps at work in these things.