MY SENSE OF NOTHINGNESS
...the highest station which they who aspire to know Thee can reach is the acknowledgement of their impotence to attain the retreats of Thy sublime knowledge I...beseech Thee, by this very powerlessness which is beloved of Thee....
-Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations, USA, 1938, p.89.
To read Price’s poetry, his notebooks, his autobiographical narrative, his essays and his letters is to shift constantly from his imaginative and intellectual life to the here and the now, a specific time and place in the microcosm or the macrocosm. He has a wonderful capacity, gift if you like, to not see dust, as Virginia Woolf puts it, to be quite removed from the day-to-day trivia of life, as his wife might have put it-and often did. The rare joys of reality are juxtaposed with the endless elements of that trivia, the endlessly prosaic. Perhaps the reason he was a poet, at least in the 1990s, was that he could not stop. For him, writing poetry was a form of self-knowing, a form of risk-taking where he exposed himself. This process, though, helped him to define himself as a writer. -Ron Price with thanks to Marlene Kadar, editor, Essays on Life Writing: From Genre to Critical Practice, University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 1992.
It was not all risk, though;
some of it was simply pure
surprise and wonder: like
the two exploding stars colliding
17 million light years from Earth
and taking, according to one astrophysicist,
1200 years to do their colliding;
shooting out gas in all directions
at 36 million kilometres per hour,
creating a supernova,
a brilliant light show, in a place,
a galaxy, where six supernovas
have been produced
since ‘Abdu’l-Baha wrote His
Tablets of the Divine Plan.
And me, defining myself,
my sense of nothingness,
in the face of that immensity.
14 June 1997