When I wake in the night and thinkof what I might have said in class that day,I wonder why my life consistsof inarticulate occasions.No timely word, only belated ones.Every hour a first draft, and then another.It makes me want to announce, “Listen!Listen to what I do not say. Listento what it is you cannot say yourselves.”There are sighs and groans, just sighs and groans.Interpret them, dear ones, as you may.
A lake lies all alone in its own shape.It’s not going anywhere.A lake can wait a long timefor a hiker to comeand camp on its shore.It will reflect the moonlight,give him a drink of pale silver.Toward dawn, the wind might ruffleit a little, and the waterwill have words with the granite.Once the hiker goes awaythrough October meadows,the lake will sparkle by itself.You’ll never see it. There isso much you will never see.
As if you were an odd speciesof television, a fleshed machinewith un-rechargeable batteries.Or a greasy remnantof bathwater,ready to rattle down the drain.As if you were a clotof tobacco,something to fill up the gums.Anything but a battered body,one of ours, your currentpassing between two hands.
I’ve seen it in the hollows of the Cascades in Oregon, and head-high on the trail from Juneau up to the Icefield,there to perplex the pink mouth of a black bear.And here it is along Cedar Creek in Michigan— dark green, leafy as ever,moisting out of the dark ravines like misplaced dollar bills.But what can you buy this time of year with skunk cabbage?Just this: violet, trillium, marigold, spring beauty.
The Century's work relies primarily on subscriptions and donations. Thank you for supporting nonprofit journalism.
Support us by buying books: