Charles River

Charles River
Upper Limit Cloud/Lower Limit Sail


"Messianicity is not messianism ... even though this distinction remains fragile and enigmatic." (Jacques Derrida)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Oppens on Eagle Island

This is a story I heard two years ago, from Bob and Mary Quinn. Thanks to Sharon Howell for introducing us.

George liked to use a pair of hi-powered WWII binoculars, very highly valued (in fact, Bob still uses his). To solve the problem of always having to pass them back and forth between himself and Mary, he simply took a hack saw to them one day and sawed them in half.

This is quintessential Oppen, I think. The problem of how to reconcile the tensions between the self and the other; the problem of how to see and see clearly -- it's all here, contained in a single gesture.

Of course, what is lost in such generosity is depth of field. Is this, then, the meaning of being numerous?