Saturday, November 7, 2009

Gold Old House:

"The great function of poetry is to give us back the situations of our dreams. The house we were born in is more than an embodiment of home, it is also an embodiment of dreams. Each one of its nooks and corners was a resting-place for daydreaming. (...)

... There are children who will leave a game to go and be bored in the corner of the garret. How often I have wished for the attic of my boredom when the complications of life made me lose the very germ of all freedom!
And so, beyond all the positive values of protection, the house we were born in becomes imbued with dream values which remain after the house is gone. Centers of boredom, centers of solitude, centers of daydream group together to constitute the oneiric house which is more lasting than the scattered memories of our birthplace. (...)
And we should not forget that these dream values communicate poetically from soul to soul. To read poetry is essentially to daydream."

The Poetics of Space ~ Gaston Bachelard

"The Old House," as we called my father's homeplace, is the subject of the third quarter of You'll Always Come Back. More exactly it is the "oneiric house" (the term is one of Bachelard's neologisms ~ meaning " the dreamed house of dreams."). An oneiric house can hardly be diagramed. Intimate, and mysterious, sites cannot be blueprinted ~ that's why I made this image gold.

I wasn't born in The Old House, and really, I was only there on certain interminable Sunday afternoons, when the mantle clock effectively slowed time down until it was in a state of absolute stasis. The clock was assisted by the ancient floor and its carpets. Once time ceased its movement, the floorboards, polished by generations of passage, and the carpets, with their obscure and dark designs, released an invisible powder of hypnotic ether that had the power to permeate and fossilize every living being. Even the sunbeams, filtered by gauze curtains, were merely pathways for the dust of ages to travel on. The light roads always returned to the forest of carpet fiber, an infinitely tiny grey and gold snow that brought absolute silence as the weakened sun sank and the horizons faded. The Old House was where I first experienced eternity.


SBD said...


Dan Dutton said...

Aw! Thanks! My memories of our house are much more primitive & elemental ~ more like a nest or a den. I could not imagine spending a night in The Old House when I was a child! It was TOO spooky!

Cathy said...

This is really lovely.

It made me think of Baudelaire's "Le Flacon" -

SBD said...

It was spooky.. the sheets were starched and ironed and that was stranger than the mantel clock and the ghosts

Dan Dutton said...

Hee! Imagine a ghost in a starched and ironed sheet!

I love Fleurs du Mal ~ I've got an old copy!

Dan Dutton said...

It's fascinating to read the various translations of "Le Flacon"! My copy is the Edna version.