Just after the sun melted into the sea and dusk slid into the boat there was a silence so absolute and profound that Declan sat in the stern to listen. Is it listening if there’s no sound, does that make sense? A great silence is an enormous thing, a positive negative, the full null, he though. You could actually hear a really deep silence; it was like a held note on a musical scale so big some of the notes didn’t have names yet.
Earlier I tried the practical approach. This is not about negotiation, marriage, winning, I said.
Ashes float, ashes are dense. This morning you are nowhere, everywhere, or in a foil-wrapped box next to portraits of our moms, reflecting sunlight. Roses do not bloom out of season, nothing winged lands here and starts to sing, but there are signs: I have your symptoms. I don’t care. You’re ignoring me. Finally, I understand.
…I have always tilled the earth
of the imagined, beside my brethren
similarly yolked; this was my calling,
and never easy beneath the heavens
unblinking and the muted enthusiasm
of those who called me patient. They
called themselves, doctor, orderly, nurse,
my next of kin…
I’m going to lie down next to you
As if nothing has happened:
Boot, shoemaker’s knife, woman,
Your point bearing to my heart’s true north.
This is a tale with a kernel.
You’ll have to use your own teeth to crack it.
More could be said
Of a dead fly
In the window
Of a small shed,
And of an iron typewriter
Lifted a key in years,
Both in delight
And dark despair.
Poetry, too, is the defense of the individual against all generalizations that seek to enclose reality in a single conceptual system. In that sense it is anti-utopian. Its core belief is that we can reach truth through the imagination. It has no trust in abstractions, but proceeds empirically by concrete particulars. In a lyric poem, another consciousness lives on in us as we recognize oneself in some stranger’s words. For some solitary reader, a book from another place and time miraculously comes to life.