To reach Metaxyturn, where the participating consciousness becomes the site of agapeic otherness, the work of art goes through two stages. 1. Through dialectics reaching the abyss of the self on the edge of abyss/the divine passage (think Beckett). Here asymmetric relativity replaces the relativity of dialectic. Dialogue with otherness interrupts. 2. Witness. The overfullness of presence of the divine other’s passage in the between. Think Bonnefoy’s resolute fidelity beyond nihilism. Presence. Hope.
John Burnside is a canny maker. He knows how to move from a familiar “quote” to a fabric of known unknowns (“we pray a spring will come / to comprehend it, all this juice and joy // informing a world …”.). The finesse of Burnside’s technique is no sophistry but cleaves to a narrative ‘inscribed’ in the consciousness of time-out-of-time (in saecula saeculorum)
Is this ‘lyric’ personal or self-consciously liturgical? Or both? However we handle such questions, the poem is a fine example of how language — a snatch like “juice and joy” which has its own felicitous shapeliness —- reaches beyond itself.