||[May. 12th, 2016|10:14 pm]
Tightroping the peaks but his thoughts are weeks ahead of him: in the mountains a certain speechlessness relaxes, chills the bird on the treetop at dawn, and song is neverending. The sight of the range, the mountains in battle order is enough to white the next week, the next month from his memory if he has memory in mind. The future turns to the past. |
In the woods, the ocean there’s no creation, no destruction. A conflict dichotomized as it appears as it seems to us, to nature and to the forest where leaves are waves and where moss is green as the night, the rain, the oldest manifold of the best of gods – this is something null. It’s process: synthesis without end, without gain or loss. A vast net, an octopus ever growing and ever-reaching – toward what circumference (it’s its own circumference, beyond which the outside is not, there is nothing, it is all outside).
We losing what's most desired by desiring it. It’s as though (by some fatal defect in our nature, some puppetlike mechanism never wholly snipped, unbound) something made our path a circle, a line like a spiral up dusty steps to the light that’s not, inane – and if we touch, if desire bit its end and life death, if culture, nature touch, strike in unison both are unstrung. And music fallen silent as the forests are. Natural objects, says Blake somewhere, deaden and obliterate the imagination. What’s good you won’t find there – if the deer would think – as though some might miss this and instead of example, illustration find idol, god, temple. Mistake the voiced accident of consciousness for wind-work. Or say the mountain be some particular thing which the poem yields you, not thought. To say mountain and mean mountain: this is a task for a god. We can carry light like a sheaf over our shoulder. We can be kind, and be there in the morning, early. But that's second nature, that’s what we can do, so say it:
There’s a rapture, an oblivion of thought and thinker and then the wrong word or image isn't possible (tightrope-walker, acrobat). The wind drives the spores, the seeds, the stalks over the field and a thousand years pass on the instant. Twenty lifetimes, or make it forty and a hundred and it’s not yet done. All was done thousands of years past and here it is, here in your hand, your eyes, see it and feel, the fruits of thought, all labored for and unsuspected ends have come.
But the wind after the first syllable has thousands more years to go. It rushes on through analogies, associations, tints by hour and shades by day, suns and moons, rain and snow, and in the open meadows over the windwhipt borders by the shore a stone’s throw between forest and ocean, now and never, the wind ongoing precipitant leaf-voiced and never-wintering, never staying and never faltering, suspended over deserts, stringing, playing mile-deep canyons like loose viols, bellowing like a horn like cars through tunnels.
And you sit for a while past the cloudbank, to see what’s there. All day the morning lasted. As though at noontime the clouds cut back, the peaks as though the sun were their mirror tilted backward, and without anyone noticing anything out of the ordinary, like a glove turned inside-out, the day pushed on behind, so you could try it again. So you could wonder then (a second time) and listen.
At five thousand feet over the Strait of Juan de Fuca you begin to hear the Pacific, in wind-form, bowing through the hundred miles of channel, and what a throat, what a current beneath and a gale above, what a voice ocean has and would have when it's narrowed into a thin tube, almost human.
And what do you hear when the wind isn't the wind? Some things beautiful are done in the way birds do it, deer, but then you have to figure it out more humanly. What's the mind's work, and what passes like second nature and what like nature. I stammered out my words seeking, passing, losing, finding at last some entrance in the movement, the swift rhythm of an allegro, the return before the close. Or as though a train, a train were passing just by me: an endless train, state-length. And trying to jump the cars rumbling and rattling and thundering by. My stammering the voicelessness that would have been mine were the silence broken too quickly. Were the words mustered out the sense, the form not handed in mute communique.
Not yet -- not yet --
It ripples out, the stone's cast. It rolls, in circles concentric, and then shivers in the sunlight. The mirror clears, and the word -- not yet -- is flown. Is stammering, is it the effect of sense unknown? and those ripples, this breaking, shattering of leaves, surface of last scattering, are these all? Is all speech, all true speech unready (or overready, which comes to the same probably)? Once we overhear it, hear it twice -- once we know what we know and change through that memory of new knowing utterance makes we can't repeat. The trial comes when we're still unready -- and we must be.
I thought about this today and maybe it's the speed of it that's essential, that's the main thing. Running, and all bellies out behind you like a parachute. Too slow, and all whips you ahead like charioteers, in pain, pain so clear it no longer seems yours but another’s, pain analyzed, pain reverbed (latinate, scourged). To give thoughts their needed range, freedom, scope without looping out into obsessional patterns (MacGuffins of thought, a dead image around which all meaning turns to orbit), or lagging behind, even a single word behind, – this takes listening, time.
Times being distant, a hundred years older not only than others, passing others along a trail or by the shore, but than myself, years blank, imperturbable, years neither ahead nor behind, nor even parallel to the ones lived and being lived, but not to be because known and to be known. Times I can't remember what I know. When what I know isn't what I've done, isn't what I can remember anymore. 'It's a strange thing: they know much and know it well: only when they’re questioned they seem to know nothing.'