Light Through a Crack
Looking at sunflowers beyond my window,
casting their saw-toothed shadows,
swaying to and fro.
My own worst crisis, those occasions when I fail
to find the right word,
to find the place for it where it’s best, exact,
where it will remain.
So many illusions, like the shadows at the window.
To live is to throw the dice.
All we have is language, the light cast,
making it impossible to explore every upturned face.
Leaning out of the window to look
beyond the sunflowers –
green boulders, giants’ eyes,
the little stream,
the chinaberry tree.
Every object a billion times older than we are,
yet somehow fresh,
as if born in the last few seconds.
Through a life of abrasion, the wearing down,
then to be worn down again.
Our frailty has no echo in nature, no symmetry.
Sunflowers like cracks in the world.
All these errors accumulating quietly
about my windowsill.
We are like a word
Our images projected
here at the window.
All earthly things are obscure as stone, the sole light cast,
man’s falling into language.
Let the wildfires consume the barren wilderness
of late winter,
so the undestroyable things can emerge.
This is the farmer’s way
of remaking the world.
As well as the unrestrained hand of Van Gogh –
sat in ashes to paint the morning stars,
he knew only those who starve
see the constellations turn.
At no distance from where death is stiffening,
leaves of grass recover their elasticity.
But another thing knows only in extremes
do the fissures burst open –
the diamond cracking.
Swooping down, she comes, goose-yellow
and still so immature,
hardly able to steady herself in one place.
Well then, welcome, oriole,
to this sharp, this senseless world.