As is often the case at times such as this I think of the ocean, and regret its distance. The day's dullness provides no distractions that would cheer me. I must dig into memory or imagination, and desire what is lost or was never found. I recall watching from the bluffs at Redondo a ship I never boarded passing up the coast. Even then I imagined seeing familiar places from an unfamiliar place, and the sense of wonder and delight it might bring. Now what I imagine must be reached by mere memory, the imagination's serendipitous prop having long since sailed, and the desire grows more distant. Some day I won't even care.
I suppose I'll settle into these still trees, and let my mind burrow among their roots until darkness is all around. I will not be a sea wind heading shoreward, but stone crushed into soil, feeling only the faintest tremor of the ground when gusts shake the forest. And on still days such as this I'll feel nothing. I smell the earth already, and barely remember how fresh the sea air once was, that day long ago.
by Howard Nemerov
The cursive crawl, the squared-off characters
these by themselves delight, even without
a meaning, in a foreign language, in
Chinese, for instance, or when skaters curve
all day across the lake, scoring their white
records in ice. Being intelligible,
these winding ways with their audacities
and delicate hesitations, they become
miraculous, so intimately, out there
at the pen's point or brush's tip, do world
and spirit wed. The small bones of the wrist
balance against great skeletons of stars
exactly; the blind bat surveys his way
by echo alone. Still, the point of style
is character. The universe induces
a different tremor in every hand, from the
check-forger's to that of the Emperor
Hui Tsung, who called his own calligraphy
the 'Slender Gold.' A nervous man
writers nervously of a nervous world, and so on.
Miraculous. It is as thought the world
were a great writing. Having said so much,
let us allow there is more to the world
than writing: continental faults are not
bare convoluted fissures in the brain.
Not only must the skaters soon go home;
also the hard inscription of their skates
is scored across the open water, which long
remembers nothing, neither wind nor wake.