Equally enjoyable is to stumble across something that I knew I knew, but hadn't thought of for a long time. But, whatever its outcome, the ritual itself is pleasurable. I enjoy the deeper quiet which ensues while I'm reading something from a printed page in the quiet hours of the night. Outside, the full moon glides by, illuminating the television aerials up and down the dead block. Their glowing shapes are like meaningless hieroglyphs, or like talismans of some sort -- hex signs to ward off the unpleasant truth that all cannot be known, perhaps. The air must be abuzz with the invisible signals, while the dark screens in the dark rooms below wait to be activated and receive the babble which now envelopes the world in a shroud of signals. In my room, the pages turn with that urgent, familiar whisper so reminiscent of fluttering leaves. All through the night, I have turned them one by one, finding bits of myself revealed on each new leaf.
Here is something I have long enjoyed, but had forgotten, and which seems appropriate to the times:
Matthew VIII, 28 ff.
by Richard Wilbur
Rabbi, we Gadarenes
Are not ascetics; we are fond of wealth and possessions.
Love, as you call it, we obviate by means
Of the planned release of aggressions.
We have deep faith in prosperity.
Soon, it is hoped, we will reach out full potential.
In the light of our gross product, the practice of charity
Is palpably inessential.
It is true that we go insane;
That for no good reason we are possessed by devils;
That we suffer, despite the amenities which obtain
At all but the lowest levels.
We shall not, however, resign
Our trust in the high-heaped table and the full trough.
If you cannot cure us without destroying our swine,
We had rather you shoved off.