sound of a blindman's cane striking

Just back from Germany, I thought I'd post something by a German poet...

I write poems to orient myself in reality. I view them as trigonometric points or buoys that mark a course in an unknown area. Only through writing do things take on reality for me. Reality is my goal, not my presupposition. First, I must establish it.
Let us use the word “definition” for these trigonometric signs. Such definitions are not only useful for the writer but it is absolutely necessary that he set them up. In each good line of poetry I hear the cane of the blindman striking: I am on secure ground now.

—Gunter Eich, "Some Remarks on 'Literature and Reality',”
Valuable Nail: Selected Poems of Gunter Eich,
Oberlin College Press, 1981, translated by Stuart Freibert

1 comment:

Jenny Allan said...

This is great - felt like a trig. point for me. Thanks for the intro to Eich.