Getting There

Roo Borson in Short Journey Upriver Toward Oishida invites the reader to meditate upon the place and the passage of time and the limits of the recuperative abilities of literature.

Oishida still exists on the map. I would someday like to go there. Whether it would be the same Oishida Basho knew is another question. Nonetheless I would like to walk the streets and see for myself. There are places one cannot go except in literature, but then again there is a version of time which literature, and all ordinary human commerce, keeps us from. In that version, Basho’s Oishida no longer exists — but fortunately, poetry keeps intervening, poetry and its obsession with the “qualities” of things, the huts of the fisherman on the beach, the little coloured clams, and so on.

In my reading I keep circling back to the sentence that registers if not a moment of failure then a type of tension: “There are places one cannot go except in literature, but then again there is a version of time which literature, and all ordinary human commerce, keeps us from.” Words get in the way as much as they facilitate travel.

And so for day 586
21.07.2008

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