Monday, November 15, 2004

Uma pedra é uma pedra é uma pedra....

Very Like A Whale

One thing that literature would be
greatly the better for would be a more
restricted employment by authors of
simile and metaphor. Authors of all
races, be they Greeks, Romans, Teutons or
Celts, can'ts seem just to say that anything is
the thing it is but have to go out of their
way to say that it is like something
else. What does it mean when we are
told that the Assyrian came down like a
wolf on the fold? In the first
place, George Gordon
Byron had had enough experience to
know that it probably wasn't just one
Assyrian, it was a lot of Assyrians. However,
as too many arguments are apt to induce apo-
plexy and thus hinder longevity, we'll let it
pass as one Assyrian for the sake of
brevity. Now then, this particular
Assyrian, the one whose cohorts were
gleamingin purple and gold, just what
does the poet mean when he says he
came down like a wolf on the fold? In
heaven and earth more than is
dreamed of in our philosophy there are a
great many things, but i don't imagine that
among then there is a wolf with purple and
gold cohorts or purple and gold anythings. No,
no, Lord Byron, before I'll believe that this
Assyrian was actually like a
wolf I must have some kind of
proof; did he run on all fours and
did he have a hairy tail and a big
redmouth and big white teeth and did he
say Woof woof? Frankly I think it very
unlikely, and all you were entitled to say, at the
very most, was that the Assyrian cohorts came
down like a lot of Assyrian cohorts about to destroy the
Hebrew host. But that wasn't fancy enough for Lord
Byron, oh dear me no, he had to invent a lot of
figures of speech and then interpolate
them, with the result that whenever you
mention Old Testament soldiers to
people they say Oh yes, they're the ones that a
lot of wolves dressed up in gold and
purple ate them. That's the kind of thing that's
being done all the time by poets, from Homer
to Tennyson; they're always comparing ladies to
lilies and veal to venison, and they always say
things like that the snow is a white blanket
after a winter storm. Oh it is, is it, all right
then, you sleep under a six-inch blanketof snow
and I'll sleep under a half-inch blanket of unpoetical
blanket material and we'll see which one keeps
warm, and after that maybe you'll begin to
comprehend dimly what I mean by too much
metaphor and simile.

(Ogden Nash, in Abrupto de Pacheco Pereira)

Continuando o tópico de um post anterior («Ela disse...»), acrescento um comentário susceptível de esclarecer um pouco melhor o que se passa quando a poesia, através das imagens, se arrisca a falhar redondamente o alvo:

«To philosophy, poetry can look like childishness, for philosophy demands that we mature. Recall how, in the tenth book of The Republic, Plato insults poetry by suggesting that it stimulates childish emotions and depends upon childish credulity

(Mark Edmundson, Literature against philosophy, Plato to Derrida, Cambridge University Press, 1995)