Saturday, April 9, 2022

By Starlight then by Stars

Dried mud on the toe of my boot. Once upon a time I was less fortunate than now. The Lord is my shepherd, for what shall I want? Imagine learning how to find your way by starlight, then by stars. Oral cultures in which I was happiest, long since discarded for the lonelier ransom of writing.

If you want me, come and get me. Bales of hay are symbols of joy, remain so after all these years, as often I will linger in the little barn to praise them, even in coldest winter. Monks are fools but so are the rest of us so relax. Yet another therapist whose voice can’t be heard over the rattling heater. My fingers on her chin, lifting.

I don’t remember much after that little apartment in Burlington, all those Woody Guthrie songs and Robert Bly essays, finding Wendell Berry and having my head turned around to stare directly at a fantasy of childhood. Chickens gurgle a little dying. Trails on the mountain I did not know were there. At night in winter I often walk farther than I expect, come back shivering with a sense of having just barely avoided a lonelier death than is called for. Floral patterns on her shirt I can’t take my eyes off.

Thanks but no thanks Eriugena! Denise Levertov told me to take commas seriously, holding the hand I’d given her to shake, and I did, I did, oh Lord I did. Ma and I have a long conversation about pancakes, the ones she made in the early years, when Dad would go out in the morning and pick blueberries with a gun to scare off bears. You can get better at being patient, but not at defying gravity – this is a nontrivial point you should not avoid looking at if you are serious about awakening. Juncos bathe in tinkling snowmelt right at the back stairs and my heart breaks but into ten thousand prisms, so it’s cool, we’re okay, just look.

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