Yannis Ritsos

A slowing 7: The necessary elusive

Transience, that fleeting way of everything not staying: how can we understand the very condition as it slips through the mind’s slippery fingers? Once awake to its pervasiveness, transience appears everywhere: in poems, in spiritual doctrines, in life’s disappointments, in everything. This attention is a chasing sort of attention, moving always toward what is out of reach, trying to understand what is slipping past understanding. Yet to know this unknowable as pervasive fixes something.  A perpetual chasing.

A fierce intellectual pacifism

Riding's 'Contemporaries and Snobs'

In writing on poetics, we often find a necessary equivocation. Turning over the pages of an old issue of Poetry, you might discover “The Meaning of Simplicity” by poet Yannis Ritsos. In its simplicity the final stanza of the short poem opens questions for the reader, revealing something unsayable and elusively poetic.

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