[L]ater you still entertained, at least as hypothesis, the notion of a not impossible love, requited passion; or resolved modestly to learn some craft, various languages. And all those sparks of future winked out behind you, forgettable. So— the present. Its blessings many today: the fresh, ornate blossoms of the simplest trees a sudden irregular pattern everywhere, audacious white, flamingo pink in a haze of early warmth. But perversely it’s not what you crave. You want the past. Oh, not your own, no reliving of anything—no, what you hanker after is a compost, a forest floor, thick, saturate, fathoms deep, palimpsestuous, its surface a mosaic of infinitely fragile, lacy, tenacious skeleton leaves. When you put your ear to that odorous ground you can catch the unmusical, undefeated belling note, as of a wounded stag escaped triumphant, of lives long gone.
Denise Levertov, from “The Past III,” Sands of the Well (New Directions, 1996)
The world man knows, the world in which he has settled himself so securely and snugly - that world is no more. The turbulence which accompanied the arrival of Dionysus has swept it away. Everything has been transformed. But it has not been transformed into a charming fairy story or into an ingenuous child’s paradise. The primeval world has stepped into the foreground, the depths of reality have opened, the elemental forms of everything that is creative, everything that is destructive, have arisen, bringing with them infinite rapture and infinite terror. The innocent picture of a well-ordered routine world has been shattered by their coming, and they bring with them no illusions or fantasies but truth - a truth that brings on madness.