Returning to Robin Robertson's slim volume of verse "Wrecking Light" late last night, I was struck once again by what an enemy poetry is to comfortable thinking. Unusually tuned to the sound language makes, Robertson is adept at pairing words that work in ways that I don't always understand, but work remarkably well nonetheless. They take you by surprise. And so I get "unpuzzled rabbits," expressionless faces that are "blank as air" and a description of deep and unexpected loss as a "shelving love." You don't read his work so much as experience it in surround sound. In his meter - now a little bit faster, now a little bit slower - you hear the reedy whistle of a particularly narrow glen, the deep roar from high places, the pant of an explorer, a shortness of breath. You see an author stumbling forward. The failures are real. And like the desolate and witchy Scottish landscapes that are the inspiration for may of the poems in Wrecking Light, the words haunt long after you close the book cover.
Take a moment to read "At Roane Head," reprinted in the Guardian - or better yet, save it for tonight when no one is watching. Then for a simply brilliant comparison of poetry to a Google search, read Nicholas Carr here. He tosses in some Frost.