Nancy Huntting, Aesthetic Realism consultant, writes:
What purpose enables love to succeed? Why are people—including lovers—so often displeased with each other and other things? The hoped-for answers are in “Poetry, Love, & Dissatisfaction,” the great new issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known.
The commentary by Ellen Reiss begins:
Dear Unknown Friends:
Here is the conclusion of the magnificent lecture by Eli Siegel that we have been serializing. In this 1964 talk, he discusses his poem “A Marriage,” of 1930: it is, he shows, an early expression of the way of seeing the world and the self of everyone which would become Aesthetic Realism.
We print here too part of a paper by Aesthetic Realism associate Steven Weiner, from a recent public seminar titled “A Man’s Dissatisfaction—What Makes It Right or Wrong?”
The Eye, the Rose, the World
I have written that “A Marriage” is one of the finest poems in the literature of America. It is fervent, philosophic, tender, logical, vivid, wide, throbbing—immensely musical. It is composed of twenty sections, and we have reached Mr. Siegel’s discussion of the final two.
Section 19, with its thirty lines, is the only part of the poem in rhyme. It can be seen as a poem in its own right, though it is certainly part of the whole. There are some lines in world poetry that have been, historically, memorable: lines readers have said stayed with them and came to their minds again and again. Two are here: “And don’t you, however, suppose / The eye is for the rose?”
What does this section, about the eye, the rose, and the world, have to do with the subject of the whole poem, love? Well, is our very being—as Mr. Siegel describes—organized in such a way as to have the world seen by us, known by us? Is the world, in the way it’s related to human beings, arranged so as to be increasingly known? And in love, is the person we want to be close to a particular representative of the world itself? Must our purpose with him or her be to see the world with increasing justice and care?
The answer to those questions is Yes. The deepest desire of every person, Aesthetic Realism explains, is to like the world honestly, through knowing it. And that is the purpose of love—the embraces, conversations, years, moments: “to feel closely one with things as a whole.” The reason love is so often not lasting, the reason for the fury and dullness, recriminations, bitterness, and shame between lovers, is that most often people use “love” in behalf of a different purpose: to have contempt for the world…. >> Read more