Claire’s Bridge to the Blog

As I was enthusiastically procrastinating on my Bridge to the Blog earlier this evening, I stumbled across some Dylan Moran comedy sketches on Youtube.  In one of the many I watched, he said the following:

“Religion is simply a formalized panic about death.”

My thoughts meandered at this point to Trilogy and the ideas we discussed in class today, though it took me the better part of tonight to realize the reason for this.  The reason is palimpsest, and it is pervading.

Humans are a race obsessed with death.  We fear its approach and lament its passing.  As H.D. would put it, we are “retrogressive…hankering after old flesh-pots,” ensnared by our vision of life as a series of “incident[s] here and there” instead of an “unalterable purpose.”  What she envisions is infinite, and she wishes for others to see it too.  What she is really expressing when she claims, “The Walls Do Not Fall,” is that the dead do not die, “they continue,” and that we, as humans, along with everything else, compose eternity as the “indelible ink of the palimpsest” (pages 5-6).

This is why H.D. begins Trilogy with the depiction of a dilapidated and nearly destroyed London.  Even though the roofs have been blown off, she observes how this “ruin opens/the tomb”, how “sealed room[s]” are now “open to the air” (3).  With her perspective ruled by palimpsest, she presents an all-encompassing eternity which makes the bombing of London seem fleeting, and less relevant to the vast scope of things.  In this way it is also far easier to cope with.  She could in some respect be using palimpsest as a defense mechanism against the tragedy of war and its influence upon her own life.

However, more specifically, H.D. uses these concepts of eternity and continuation to illuminate and justify the ever obscure purpose of the poet.  In the tenth poem of Trilogy, she acknowledges the question: “so what good are your scribblings?”  Her answer proclaims an undercurrent of permanence to these scribblings, as poems, as “magic…indelibly stamped/on the atmosphere somewhere.”  The final stanza recalls, “in the beginning/was the Word,” identifying the “Word” as what initiated, perpetuates, eternalizes and thus immortalizes something so fleeting as the human experience (17).  H.D. suggests poets are not merely poets; they are the prophets of existence.

More importantly, this is what Dylan Moran thinks about life and death:



2 Responses to “Claire’s Bridge to the Blog”

  1. Heidi says:

    My favorite line:
    “Gardening, gardening, gardening…death.”

  2. Gwendolyn says:

    This Bringe to the Blog is revealing and I liked how you brought in Dylan Moran.
    I am particularly fond of your interpretation of H.D.’s work …”the dead do not die, “they continue”, and that we, as humans, along with everything else, compose eternity as the “indelible ink of the palimpsest” (pages 5-6).”

    This is the perfect sum of H.D. for me and I look forward to reading the work with your perspective in mind.