All the new thinking is about loss.
In this it resembles all the old thinking.
The idea, for example, that each particular erases
the luminous clarity of a general idea. That the clown- faced woodpecker
probing the dead sculpted trunk of that black birch is,
by his presence, some tragic falling off from a first world of undivided
Or the other notion that, because there is in this world
no one thing to which the bramble of blackberry corresponds,
a word is elegy to what it signifies.
We talked about it late last night
and in the voice of my friend, there was a thin wire of grief,
a tone almost querulous.
After a while I understood that, talking this way, everything dissolves:
justice, pine, hair, woman, you and I.
There was a woman I made love to
and I remembered how,
holding her small shoulders in my hands sometimes,
I felt a violent wonder at her presence
like a thirst for salt, for my childhood river with its island willows,
silly music from the pleasure boat,
muddy places where we caught the little orange-silver fish called
It hardly had to do with her.
Longing, we say, because desire is full of endless distances.
I must have been the same to her.
But I remember so much,
the way her hands dismantled bread, the thing her father said that
what she dreamed.
There are moments when the body is as numinous
days that are the good flesh continuing.
Such tenderness, those afternoons and evenings,
saying blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.
TO MEDITATIONS AT LAGUNITAS HERE