'Two Sonnets Written on the Flyleaf of Louis Zukofsky’s Bottom: On Shakespeare'


by Eric T. Racher


If love is to the reason what the eye
is to the mind—a paver of a road,
a mason or a carpenter, a die
that shapes unordered substance, thorn & goad;
furthermore, if love and eye are “I”
(Thus for all x, x = x.)—a node
within the network of the world, a die
of many faces, coral, cairn & code;
love needs no tongue to reason, then, because
an eye to action is an eye, is love,
for music’s an unconsummated sign,
while love is joy with an external cause
to move us (Better, the idea thereof.)
from intellect to sound to sight. (The ʿayin.)


The spring from which discernment, fitness, and
proportion—all perfections—flow, the clear
physical eye. (That Shakespeare’s text should stand
on such a surface!) Yet it is ‘The eare,’
that Campion claimed to be ‘a rational sence,
chief judge of proportion.’ (Yes, that’s it, alas—
the judging ear is algebraic, hence
its modus is abstract—a trembling gas.)
I see then. Eyes see then. —but I’s (pronounced
eyes) is dependent on the ear, and thus
the play’s not of the eye. Therefore, (He’s pounced!)
it is not sight alone delivers us
that gleam, earth’s face, appearance, being, rose-
bud, aperture whence radiant knowledge flows.


About the Author

Eric T. Racher lives and works in Riga, Latvia. He is the author of a chapbook of poetry, Five Functions Defined on Experience: For Jay Wright (2021).

Post Image

Edwin Landseer, Scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream— Titania and Bottom, 1848 (detail).

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