A poem is first and last a response of wonder to the suchness of contingent things, to its appeal from the depths to our senses and awareness of its passing and our own in the between. That simple proposition conceals the doubleness of ‘that’: the pronoun and the subordinating conjunction.
The ultimacy of the primary awareness, because of its grip on our senses, preoccupies and makes us momentarily deaf and dumb to the doubleness of ‘that.’
That wonder is double: the primal wonder—that there is anything at all— is the ground of one’s own self-awareness. It also prepares the poet for her response to the specific ‘that.’
The ultimacy of the coming to be and passing away of ‘that’ is not experienced in a vacuum. It is experienced against the background of the wonder that there is anything at all. Cold comfort in the event, but the resonance of a poem depends on the fertile abyss of life in the between.
Here’s the opening of a 9th-century Old Irish lyric that powerfully addresses the doubleness of the human condition in the between. See Geoffrey Squires, translator and editor, My News for You: Irish Poetry 600-1200. Shearman Books.