I have been reading—wading through, as one must with French intellectualization—Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space (translated by Maria Jolas), and there are these pieces of grand epigraphic quality; that is, Bachelard presents seductive statements, each drawing-out my pen to mark for posterity, that draw one toward his ideas and impel their extension into one’s own surroundings. They are edifices in a swamp, those bits that long to the epigraphic, for the rest is a muck of text. My thoughts drift as I read then wade, heavy step after heavy step, until my attention is caught again by another edifice in the swamp. My favorite of his statements could be chiseled in an architrave (but remember, there is a swamp behind the door); it’s this from near the beginning:
“One must be receptive to the image at the moment it appears: if there be a philosophy of poetry, it must appear and re-appear through a significant verse, in total adherence to an isolated image; to be exact, in the very ecstasy of the newness of the image.”
This has the provocation one wants in an epigraph. Yes, it’s a tad long and has too many clauses, but it has the resound one wants for the architrave. Ecstasy in an image is an idea that appeals.