Reading Husserl, Or Wandering About in the Panopticum Waxworks (Poem)

Reading Husserl Or, Wandering About in the Panopticum Waxworks
for my phenomenology students

I have been reading
Husserl

or I think I have;
it’s hard to tell

to tell the difference

I confront his pages
in sternly receptive fashion
hoping for a clear sentence

one that will carry clearness a little further
and make the page more than a motley of wanton arabesques

I want, I guess, for my intuitive presentation
of the physical appearance of the words
to undergo an essential phenomenological modification
(that’s rather a mouthful)
so that the words begin to count as expressions
(Mean something, dammit!)
and I can understand

my meaning-intentions cry out
for meaning-fulfillments

“For the earnest expectation of the creature
waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.”

Reading well,
I have been told,
is reading true books
in a true spirit—a noble exercise

But here I am in a sweat
reminding myself:  no pain, no gain
lifting long sentences weighted with imponderable German words,
the unintelligible unlightness of being-Husserl

And it may be
that the books of
the great poets have
yet to be read, and that because
only a great poet can read them

And so it may be
at least by that math
that I am no great phenomenologist

I haven’t as many eyes as Husserl

6 responses

    • Thanks for this, dmf. I know the piece, but can’t get the link to work. I’ve been trying to get the students to acknowledge the struggle of reading Husserl and to see that one part of it is an unwillingness to be as patient with the problems as Husserl himself is willing to be. (‘Patience’ has been a by-word of the class lately.)

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