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Aphorisms Regarding Impatience

by Ellen Hinsey


1.
Mythologies of the End

Each century believing itself poised as if on the edge of time.

2.
The Meaning of Impatience

Restlessness in time. To imagine that which is not swiftly accomplished will never be fulfilled.


3.
Displaced Envy

Unable to initiate creation, or manage civilization: the drive to engineer decreation with perfection.


4.
Perplexing Instincts

The division of the spirit between advancement and abandon.


5.
The Attraction of the Apocalypse

To control with absolute certainty one thing. And for it to be the last.


6.
Fragile Vector

The intersection where civilization and perseverance meet.


7.
The Effort of Civilization

Miraculous labor. Each day Sisyphus rolling his rock uphill against the accidental nature of mankind.


8.
Not a Solution

To draw into question Sisyphus's task.


9.
Accepting Negative Inevitability

Intellectual sleepwalking. The ethical self abdicating volition for the temptation of renunciation.


10.
Deviant Logic

To reject contingencies of disaster. To glean possibility from the crevices of improbability.


11.
What is at Stake

Civilization's estate for which there is no sovereign protection.


12.
Not the End

A type of grace: waiting in impatience to see that, from now until the far edge of always, nothing happens.

 

Ellen Hinsey was born in Massachusetts in 1960. She has lived and traveled extensively in Europe for the last two decades. She is the author of The White Fire of Time (Wesleyan University Press/Bloodaxe Books); Cities of Memory, which received the Yale University Series Award in 1995; and a new collection in progress, Update on the Descent. Her work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Poetry. (5/2007)


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