Louise Gluck


There are two kinds of vision: 
the seeing of things, which belongs 
to the science of optics, versus 
the seeing beyond things, which 
results from deprivation. Man mocking the dark, rejecting 
worlds you do not know: though the dark 
is full of obstacles, it is possible to have 
intense awareness when the field is narrow 
and the signals few. Night has bred in us 
thought more focused than yours, if rudimentary: 
man the ego, man imprisoned in the eye, 
there is a path you cannot see, beyond the eye’s reach, 
what the philosophers have called 
the via negativa: to make a place for light 
the mystic shuts his eyes – illumination 
of the kind he seeks destroys 
creatures who depend on things.