Skip to main content

… [D. H.] Lawrence writes of Harry’s "whims, and fumblings, and effort, and nonsense, and echoes from other poets, these all go to make up the living chaos of a little book of real poetry."

The chaos is there, sure enough, both on the surface and below it, but "Photoheliograph" tries to blow away the mists in a concentrated graphic expression:

[Wolff quotes the poem in its entirety.]

This black sun was no invention of Harry’s, but the alchemist’s Sol niger, prime matter, the unconscious in its unworked, base state. The black sun is at its nadir, hidden, and all is night. In the Rig-Veda the sun during its night crossing is at its most magical and portentous. It must and shall be resurrected, as Harry knew he should persist again, in and like the sun, beyond his own sun-fall. Here again, paradox and ambiguity: the sun that gave sea, soil and life also stared down without pity at its creations and withered them, dried them out, burnt them. Or failed to shine, winking while life failed. Where the sun is, there also find the death principle, the chaos that reigned before light dispelled it, the chaos that Harry’s life and work replicated in miniature.