The Silence of the Songbirds

How can we attend to what we have not noticed? It took a week or ten days for the strangeness of the silence that surrounded us as we walked in the forest to become audible, to realize that it was not what we were hearing but what we were not hearing that was what was important. The realization didn’t come all at once. Continue reading The Silence of the Songbirds

Who will watch you while you sleep?

We have to climb to see the sunshine. At 40,000 feet, the clouds seem like a vast snow-blasted landscape–blue shadows of the distance like linking pools of half-frozen water. It is a landscape without trees, just the long arc of the atmosphere curving away in the distance. The sun is bright and hot–it seems as if it has been days since I’ve felt its heat and blare, the sting of so much light in my eyes. Continue reading Who will watch you while you sleep?

Fall Semester Sonnet

Insomniac, I wake, open the envelope of the day and shove another act inside as if the day were expandable, made of pleats, an extraordinary accordion capable of melody every time I squeeze, not some exhausted drone, a whine or tumble of falling keys, of rain-soaked shoes, of numb-finger stitches, belated appointments and warmed-over meals, the bones of my spine dully aching, rain dashing at … Continue reading Fall Semester Sonnet

Another kind of wildness

A sonnet that begins with words yanked, one from each line of “returning the books to their shelves” by Bernadette Mayer. city time         19          stream taxi it mulch then window nothing books cold phone shelves Feeling far from the city finally in Desolation. Time to walk and stretch and swim and think until 19 o’clock in the evening when I hope we will eat a … Continue reading Another kind of wildness

14 Reasons for Hope: A Phenomenology of Place

In this strange and fecund season here at the edge of the sea, I am thinking a great deal about climate change, for its signs seem acutely evident now, all around us. We appear to be witnessing major shifts or collapses in sea bird populations. Species of fish and shellfish we’ve not seen before show up here and there, and morning and night we mark the heights and declines of the tides–they are more extreme; likewise, storms when they come carry away larger and larger chunks of various shorelines. In such a space, what, for every living thing, might be reasons for hope, for looking to a future? And what might any living thing hope for (or against)? Continue reading 14 Reasons for Hope: A Phenomenology of Place

How the ghosts of memory lie

  A place that resembles a place where once I lived: Google Street View of 3 rue de la Fointaine au Roi, Paris I have almost forgotten my neighbour already. Rainer Maria Rilke, The Notebook of Malte Laurids Brigge, 171. Some years before he died, my friend Elisabeth’s father began to lose his memory. He became concerned to organize his memorabilia, and so he set … Continue reading How the ghosts of memory lie