Symbolism and the Imagination

“Take from them the whiteness of the moon and of the wave, whose relation to the setting of Time is too subtle for the intellect, and you take from them their beauty.”

Isn’t that a line to provoke thought–too subtle for the intellect? Poems deal in connections too subtle for the intellect. At least that’s what Yeats said, and it was about a poem by Robert Burns. He also speaks of “perfections that escape analysis.”

Do you believe poems deal in connections too suble for the intellect? Do you think human beings have a way of apprehending relations too subtle for the intellect? What faculty would perceive those relations the intellect cannot? Or is it just old Willy Yeats being mystical? Perfections that escape analysis!

You may know or guess that that faculty is imagination; it is better for catching subtle relations than the intellect. Yeats believes it is subtle enough to perceive the hidden laws of the world and to apprehend perfections that escape analysis.

How’s yours? When you study the Psalms or Obadiah, are you aware of these relations? The hidden laws of the world and perfections that escape analysis?


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