But it can be argued that the eclectic and highly sophisticated modern temper has lost the ability to understand nature’s simple truths or grasp the common sense argument of a rigorous scientific mind such as Lessing’s.
It cannot be denied that modern poetry has lost both the innocent public and the objective, scientific reader. The freedom of the modern poet has led to a cul-de-sac of obscurity, the ‘everything’ of the modern poet has turned to ‘nothing’ in many eyes, and the moderns’ touted ‘difficulty,’ to hopeless looseness, even to its many sophisticated followers.
What if Lessing’s common sense is generally correct?
A BAROQUE WALL FOUNTAIN IN THE VILLA SCIARRAUnder the bronze crownToo big for the head of the stone cherub whose feetA serpent has begun to eat,Sweet water brims a cockle and braids downPast spattered mosses, breaksOn the tipped edge of a second shell, and fillsThe massive third below. It spillsIn threads then from the scalloped rim, and makesA scrim or summery tentFor a faun-ménage and their familiar goose.Happy in all that ragged, looseCollapse of water, its effortless descentAnd flatteries of spray,The stocky god upholds the shell with ease,Watching, about his shaggy knees,The goatish innocence of his babes at play;His fauness all the whileLeans forward, slightly, into a clambering meshOf water-lights, her sparkling fleshIn a saecular ecstasy, her blinded smileBent on the sand floorOf the trefoil pool, where ripple-shadows comeAnd go in swift reticulum,More addling to the eye than wine, and moreInterminable to thoughtThan pleasure’s calculus. Yet since this allIs pleasure, flash, and waterfall,Must it not be too simple? Are we notMore intricately expressedIn the plain fountains that Maderna setBefore St. Peter’s—the main jetStruggling aloft until it seems at restIn the act of rising, untilThe very wish of water is reversed,That heaviness borne up to burstIn a clear, high, cavorting head, to fillWith blaze, and then in gauzeDelays, in a gnatlike shimmering, in a fineIllumined version of itself, decline,And patter on the stones its own applause?If that is what men areOr should be, if those water-saints displayThe pattern of our aretê,What of these showered fauns in their bizarre,Spangled, and plunging house?They are at rest in fulness of desireFor what is given, they do not tireOf the smart of the sun, the pleasant water-douseAnd riddled pool below,Reproving our disgust and our ennuiWith humble insatiety.Francis, perhaps, who lay in sister snowBefore the wealthy gateFreezing and praising, might have seen in thisNo trifle, but a shade of bliss—That land of tolerable flowers, that stateAs near and far as grassWhere eyes become the sunlight, and the handIs worthy of water: the dreamt landToward which all hungers leap, all pleasures pass.
WEDDINGFrom time to time our love is like a sail
and when the sail begins to alternate
from tack to tack, it’s like a swallowtail
and when the swallow flies it’s like a coat;
and if the coat is yours, it has a tear
like a wide mouth and when the mouth begins
to draw the wind, it’s like a trumpeter
and when the trumpet blows, it blows like millions . . .
and this, my love, when millions come and go
beyond the need of us, is like a trick;
and when the trick begins, it’s like a toe
tip-toeing on a rope, which is like luck;
and when the luck begins, it’s like a wedding,
which is like love, which is like everything.