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PN Review 276
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This article is taken from PN Review 2, Volume 4 Number 2, January - March 1978.

3 Poems John Mole
                            'Staying is nowhere'-Rilke
To live by images
defines what can be said.

Their prints, their indentations
are the only language.

Endless surface-
brilliant, untouched

and saying nothing-
silences the mind.

Against the sky
a bird's impression;

rounded apples
space themselves in air.

To move, to shape,
to agitate . . .

Being a self-renouncer like this may attract the reward of some religious credit, as if knowing one's little place (or pretending to know it) and seeming to jettison all great pretence for a new, cut-down realism, might even be thought the equivalent of discovering one's utmost, honest identity in relation to God or the universe. More often, however, the situation is of a broken-down humanism, its liberality of sympathy slowly going rotten, while it creates for itself from the wreckage of relations a vision of evil, an imagined coming through to utmost truth, which might even be turned in a quasi-religious manner to seem profoundly redemptive. It is not very far at all, in the logic of narrowing sensibility, from Victorian charitable dutifulness in fiction to the twentieth-century novel (as instanced by Forster and Angus Wilson) which makes religiose sensations out of a collapsed liberalism-collapsed but repaired and re-presented in a smaller but dubiously modest version. 'Here was a protest and a feeble one, and the more congenial for being feeble', said ...

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