Aesthetic Realism Online Library Poetry by Eli Siegel

You Can't Miss the Absolute


In every illusion,

There must be something

Which isn't illusion.



Try to see something

Which doesn't correspond

To reality at all—

And see if you can.



If the absolute weren't

Present in your

Latest mistake—it

Wouldn't be

The absolute.



The Thing in Itself

Has a way

Of being somehow

In the latest dimness.

And if you haven't seen it there,

And thousands of others haven't—

It doesn't mind:

It squats.

For the Thing in Itself

Rambles and squats,

And gets into everywhere,

And has been everywhere.

It is in a kitten's mew,

And a waterfall's roar,

And a printing mistake,

And the latest smugness.

Glory be,

The Thing in Itself

Is the least keep-outable thing


Safe in brain-ganglion,

Safe in love,

Safe in pain,

If there is anything secure,

That's it.

If there is anything accessible,

That's it.

For mystery is the very commonest article

There is.

And mystery is the absolute, otherwise the Thing in Itself,

Present, present, present,

But hinting, Oh, so much.