william empson: let it go

William Empson (1906 – 1984) was a British literary critic and poet.  He and his wife Hetta had an open marriage marked by dangerous liaisons, the frissons of which may have fed his art.

He said this poem – “Let It Go” – was about his decision to give up writing poetry, though it could describe how he felt about his life. Or we about ours.

It is this deep blankness is the real thing strange.

The more things happen to you the more you can’t

Tell or remember even what they were.

The contradictions cover such a range.

The talk would talk and go so far aslant.

You don’t want madhouse and the whole thing there.

Consider letting go the strange deep mad blankness in your life. Let it go now.

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