To read/write a poem is to don a mask that reconfigures reality. Some poems reflect on the reconfiguration process. In Jaccottet’s poem cited below, light from above causes perplexity, not because we know about the sun as source (so-called objective knowledge), but because the brightness is more than we bargain for. It is all-enveloping, reducing us to shadows. In the end, however, pity drowns everything. The movement from objective analysis to perplexity to humility-in-community is the arc of the creative process as we know it (in the between).
This poem is from Mahon’s Jaccottet Selected (Wake Forest).