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WORDSWORTH AT ALA!
At the yearly gathering of booklovers held in Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center June 22 – 27, Wordsworth the Better World Bookmobile is...
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Over a dock railing, I watch the minnows, thousands, swirl themselves, each a minuscule muscle, but also, without the way to create current, making of their unison (turning, re- infolding, entering and exiting their own unison in unison) making of themselves a visual current, one that cannot freight or sway by minutest fractions the water' s downdrafts and upswirls, the dockside cycles of finally-arriving boat-wakes, there where they hit deeper resistance, water that seems to burst into itself (it has those layers), a real current though mostly invisible sending into the visible (minnows) arrowing motion that forces change -- this is freedom. This is the force of faith. Nobody gets what they want. Never again are you the same. The longing is to be pure. What you get is to be changed. More and more by each glistening minute, through which infinity threads itself, also oblivion, of course, the aftershocks of something at sea. Here, hands full of sand, letting it sift through in the wind, I look in and say take this, this is what I have saved, take this, hurry. And if I listen now? Listen, I was not saying anything. It was only something I did. I could not choose words. I am free to go. I cannot of course come back. Not to this. Never. It is a ghost posed on my lips. Here: never.
Afterwards And translucence itself, bare, bony, feeding and growing on the manifest, frets in the small puddles of snowmelt sidewalks and frozen lawns hold up full of sky. From this eternity, where we do notresemble ourselves, where resemblance is finally beside (as the river is) the point, and attention can no longer change the outcome of the gaze, the ear too is finally sated, starlings starting up ladderings of chatter, all at once all to the left, invisible in the pruned-back hawthorn, heard and heard again, and yet again differently heard, but silting the head with inwardness and making always a dispersing but still coalescing opening in the listener who cannot look at them exactly, since they are invisible inside the greens -- though screeching-full in syncopations of yellowest, fine-thought, finespun rivering of almost-knowables. "Gold" is too dark. "Featherwork" too thick. When two appear in flight, straight to the child-sized pond of melted snow, and thrash, dunk, rise, shake, rethrashing, reconfiguring through reshufflings and resettlings the whole body of integrated featherwork, they shatter open the blue-and-tree-tip filled-up gaze of the lawn' s two pools, breaking and ruffling all the crisp true sky we had seen living down in that tasseled earth. How shall we say this happened? Something inaudible has ceased. Has gone back round to an other side of which this side' s access was is] this width of sky deep in just-greening soil? We left the party without a word. We did not change, but time changed us. It should be, it seems, one or the other of us who is supposed to say -- lest there be nothing -- here we are. It was supposed to become familiar (this earth). It was to become "ours." Lest there be nothing? Lest wereach down to touch our own reflection here? Shouldn' t depth come to sight and let it in, in the end, as the form the farewell takes: representation: dead men: lean forward and look in: the raggedness of where the openings are: precision of the limbs upthrusting down to hell: the gleaming in: so blue: and that it has a bottom: even a few clouds if you keep attending: and something that' s an edge-of: and mind-cracks: and how the poem is about that: that distant life: I carry it inside me but can plant it into soil: so that it becomes impossible to say that anything swayed from in to out: then back to "is this mine, or yours?": the mind seeks danger out: it reaches in, would touch: where the subject is emptying, war is: morality play: preface: what there is to be thought: love: begin with the world: let it be small enough.
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