Today, as I sat in the sun, I listened to the wind high up in the pines. There is a scientific explanation for the sound of the wind in the pines, its ebb and flow. Of course there is. Something to do with the velocity of moving air and the resistance of boughs. But Science merely provides descriptions of the World. It has nothing to do with intimation.
Ludwig Wittgenstein hits the nail on the head:
"At the basis of the whole modern view of the world lies the illusion that the so-called laws of nature are the explanations of natural phenomena.
So people stop short at natural laws as at something unassailable, as did the ancients at God and Fate.
And they both are right and wrong. But the ancients were clearer, in so far as they recognized one clear terminus, whereas the modern system makes it appear as though everything were explained."
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (translated by C. K. Ogden), Propositions 6.371 and 6.372 (1921) (italics in original).
Those four sentences explain the central error of the modern age. And its emptiness.
John Brett, "Caernarvon" (1875)
"A voice! A voice!" I cried. No music stills
The craving heart that would an answer find;
No song of birds, no murmuring of the wind,
No -- not that awful harmony of mind,
The silent stars, above the silent hills.
Mary Coleridge, in Theresa Whistler (editor), The Collected Poems of Mary Coleridge (Rupert Hart-Davis 1954).
I suspect that Coleridge's use of the word "awful" (line 4) is in the older, now lost, sense of "solemnly impressive; sublimely majestic." OED.
John Brett, "Britannia's Realm" (1880)
Throughout his life, Wallace Stevens argued for the primacy of the Imagination over Reality, believing that the Imagination is what makes us human. Hence, one would not expect Stevens to be listening for voices from out of the World. But he had his moments.
To the Roaring Wind
What syllable are you seeking,
In the distances of sleep?
Wallace Stevens, Harmonium (1923).
These moments occurred more often as Stevens aged. A bit of doubt began to creep in. Consider, for example, the three opening stanzas of "The Region November" (my oft-revisited "November poem"):
It is hard to hear the north wind again,
And to watch the treetops, as they sway.
They sway, deeply and loudly, in an effort,
So much less than feeling, so much less than speech,
Saying and saying, the way things say
On the level of that which is not yet knowledge . . .
John Brett, "St Ives Bay" (1878)
Do they ever meet out there,
The dolphins I counted,
The otter I wait for?
I should have spent my life
Listening to the waves.
Michael Longley, The Ghost Orchid (Jonathan Cape 1995).
John Brett, "The British Channel Seen From the Dorsetshire Cliffs" (1871)