I love the word warm.
It is almost unbearable —
so moist and breathlike.
I feel the earth like a nurse,
curing me of winter.
I feel the earth,
its worms oiling upward,
the ants ticking,
the oak leaf rotting like feces
and the oats rising like angels.
In the beginning,
summer is a sense
of this earth,
or of yourself.
The airy sky has taken its place leaning against the wall.
It is like a prayer to what is empty.
And what is empty turns its face to us
“I am not empty, I am open.”
— from Vermeer, Tomas Tranströmer, trans Robert Bly
We are not transparent to ourselves. We have intuitions, suspicions, hunches, vague musings, and strangely mixed emotions, all of which resist simple definition. We have moods, but we don’t really know them. Then, from time to time, we encounter works of art that seem to latch on to something we have felt but never recognized clearly before. Alexander Pope identified a central function of poetry as taking thoughts we experience half-formed and giving them clear expression: “what was often thought, but ne’er so well expressed.” In other words, a fugitive and elusive part of our own thinking, our own experience, is taken up, edited, and returned to us better than it was before, so that we feel, at last, that we know ourselves more clearly.