This is the second post on the work of Ronald Johnson's poetry. It continues with a consideration of our favorite poem of Johnson's, Three Paintings By Arthur Dove, which was published in his first book, A Line of Poetry, A Row of Trees.
You can almost feel the language--syllables--straining to become what they are describing, as if words could be the things they were signs of. The quality of immanence, or " the divine as existing and acting within the mind or the world" as a means to transcendence, is characteristic of Johnson's verse. Over and over, in various ways, you feel the urge to pass through the forms of matter into a higher reality of being or awareness. At no point do we abandon the physical fact of our bodies, or of our apprehension things, but we acquire a higher awareness of their nature, their qualities, their function, and beauty, through the process of imagining them through words, in words (inwards).
Coming in Part III, an examination of Arthur Dove, and the third part of Johnson's poem.