Ardakh Nurgaz. Returning the language to the matter

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Man creates meaning through language. It gives meaning to matter. That meaning has a two-sided quality. Firstly, it refers to the subject through language. Secondly, it refers to an object or matter. This notion has a special place in poetry. Language is fragmented in poetry based on a special relationship between representation and Vorstellung. In the poetry of the 20th century, this feature finds three different manifestations in three poets - TS Eliot, Paul Celan and Wallace Stevens.

In the poem "The Waste Land" by T.S. Eliot, there are excerpts from the works of more than fifty authors along with the poet's original work. The difference here is that instead of the full text of the traditional narrative, the poet used excerpts from those works, thus absorbing the subjective meaning into the objective or matter. Even though space and time are fragmented, meaning is united. There has been a loss of subjective meaning in Paul Celan's middle and late works. There is such a disintegrated image of the subjective in Celan's poetry that it is like an image that has lost its unity within the objective. It has a fragmented, chattered meaning. W. Stevens' poetry is similar to P. Celan's. However, W. Stevens does not create the meaning of matter by breaking down subjective meaning; he does not bring forward the meaning of the subjective; he does not intend to absorb the subjective meaning into the objective. Instead, he works to find the meaning of matter. The poetry of W. Stevens can be called the poetry of matter.

Translated by Bayan Ardakh

1.    T.S. Eliot. The Waste Land


       The Burial of the Dead


Unreal City,

Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,

A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,

I had not thought death had undone so many.

Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,

And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.

Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,

To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours

With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.

There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying: “Stetson!

“You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!

“That corpse you planted last year in your garden,

“Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?

“Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?

“Oh keep the Dog far hence, that’s friend to men,

“Or with his nails he’ll dig it up again!

“You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!”



2.    Paul Celan. Thread Suns


Thread suns

above the grey-black wilderness.

A treehigh


tunes in to light's pitch: there are

still songs to be sung on the other side

of mankind.



3.    Wallace Stevens. Earthy Anecdotes


Every time the bucks went clattering

Over Oklahoma

A firecat bristled in the way.


Wherever they went,

They went clattering,

Until they swerved,

In a swift, circular line,

To the right,

Because of the firecat.


Or until they swerved,

In a swift, circular line,

To the left,

Because of the firecat.


The bucks clattered.

The firecat went leaping,

To the right, to the left,


Bristled in the way.


Later, the firecat closed his bright eyes

And slept.

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