ten explore self, the brokenness andnelusiveness of self, the attempts tondiscover and reconcile; they also explorenother matters and use othernmethods. The book, then, is in partndeconstructive. For one of his poemsndefines, with clarity and suggestiveness,na major philosophical cause ofndeconstructive verse; and anothernpoem (more strictly a section of anpoem) is, in vivid free verse, a beautifulnexample of the deconstructive lyric.nHere is the first poem I’m talkingnabout, “Plowing It Under.”nHow is the darkness dark,nor the light, light?nAnd how do we see by eithernthe handnRaised, or held out? When wengive, do we uncagenReasons for a new life,nor ride againnInstinct, that tired horse,nback to his stall?nDoesnEverything tend by naturentoward the dumb forknthat says to us One waynor the other?nHard questions, if you takenthem seriously.nOnly a fool ignores them,nor a clod.nDo we bring form to the world,nor does the worldnGuide us through its maze?nHow will you knownEven if you find the true color,nand your handnSettles perfectly on its body,nwhich is which?nThe poem is about the inescapability ofnthe Kantian trap, whether Stuart hasnKant specifically in mind or not. Thenmind constitutes experience, and thereforencannot possibly know whether itnknows anything correctly, or knows anythingnto be true.nHow is the darkness dark, or the light,nlight? That is, do we perceive, truly,ndarkness and light; or do we create bynour perceptual apparatus darkness andnlight? We must choose which, yet havenno way to tell which. Is our experiencentrustworthy or not? Does it grant usntruth—any truth at all?nAfter several reformulations, whichnraise some other lively questions, thenpoem succinctly asks, “Do we bringn30/CHRONICLESnform to the world, or does the worid /nGuide us through the maze?” Thenremainder of the poem even morenelegantly poses the question.nThe poem states a problem withngreat energy, clarity, and elegance, ancentral problem from which much ofnthe modern skepticism derives. Thenpoem about the question also begs thenquestion, by the definiteness of its inconclusiveness.nIs it really a tie? If wencan know that the issue of skepticismnand verity is a tie, or rationally believenthat it is a tie, then there is knowledgenand it is not a tie. At least the argumentnand anxieties cut deep, near the mostnbasic structure and nature of our thinking.nThe poem is nonverse, though itngives a strong impression of metricality.nThus we have a rational, clear, andneloquent poem—in nonverse — on anquestion crucial in the history of modernismnand modern skepticism, a poemnstrongly suggesting that the skeptic isnright: that there is no ground for decision.nIs this, then, a deconstructive lyric?nIn theme and nonverse, yes; in form,nordonnance, rationality, and clarity ofnlanguage, no.nSection 5 of “Gasting” is highlynsuccessful short-line free verse.nIf it’s a dreamnonly a person from the dreamncan wake me.nNonone else is there.nInhold the monofilamentnat the lure’s eyensuspended. A lightnbreaks upon itna fine shower of gold.nDazzlednInbend closer, my handnmisguiding, missingnsuch a simple act,nthreadingnthe bait’s eye.nIncontinue tonfailnseemingly forevernbowedntoward the shimmeringnbrightnessnblurred—so close,nnow so many timesnnnmy mouth isnlittered with hooks.nThis section is, treated as a completenpoem, a very good poem, one of thenbest deconstructive lyrics I know.nThe uncertainty; the sense of beingninterlocked within a lock to which thenkey is also locked, therein or elsewhere;nthe vivid near-solipsism in presence ofna world that dazzles rather thannenlightens — all are deconstructivenmodes. But while the poem is aboutnconfusion and obscurity, it is itselfnstrangely lucid.nThe image, the extended allegoricalnimage, is of fishing, and the seekernbecomes the sought. You can roughlynparaphrase the poem so: a fishermannfishes in a sea or lake brilliant with lightnand with light’s excitement and confusion,nand in the search to escape fromnthe self-locked dream, from which younare awakened only by someone in thendream, which is a dream of solipsismnalmost or at least of dire separatenessnfrom what you — dream-you, colloquial-you,nsolipsistic you, reader andnpoet, if you are listening, you—wouldnunderstand. What you try to understandnflashes and vanishes and excites,nand you find that hooks litter yournmouth.nIt is confusion, if various, but confusedlynvarious, and thus, as a poeticnsubject, in an unconfused sense monotonouslynone. It is also a highly limitednsubject, the blind spot in the eye assertingnwrongly that it is the essence of theneye, and it is a subject that fails thencentral poetic duty of just expressionnand understanding of human motivation.nIn this poem the “failure” isnparadoxical, since the poem very wellnexpresses and understands what it is likento be confused. Stuart has done suchnnegation about as well as it is apt to bendone by anyone since Hopkins.nStill, casting is not casting unless younactually intend to land a fish. Questioningnis, by its nature and definition andnhistory, not really questioning unlessnyou are really and truly seeking answers.nTo do that requires care,nthought, distinctions, hope, yes, andnfaith.nA bumper sticker asserts, with unquestioningnfervor, “To Question Isnthe Answer.”nI question that answer.n<^n