I’m contemplating the ideas in a book rich with poetic imagery about houses — The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard, first published in France in 1958. The author started his career as a philosopher of science and ended it as a philosopher of the imagination! It’s a slow read, which is fine because I underline many passages, savor them, and then go back to them weeks later. I opened the book at random this morning and came across these gems …
“If we have retained an element of dream in our memories, if we have gone beyond merely assembling exact recollections, bit by bit the house that was lost in the mists of time will appear from out the shadow. We do nothing to reorganize it; with intimacy it recovers its entity, in the mellowness and imprecision of the inner life.” (p.57)
In pondering the qualities of cottage vs. the “manor,” Bachelard muses, “To sleep well we do not need to sleep in a large room, and to work well we do not have to work in a den. But to dream of a poem, then write it, we need both…Thus the dream house must possess every virtue. However spacious, it must also be a cottage, a dove-cote, a nest, a chrysalis. Intimacy needs the heart of a nest.” (p.64)
Then I think of my sister’s house, which always stirs me to daydream and remember.