Think of a globe, a revolving globe on a stand. Think of a contour globe, whose mountain ranges cast shadows, whose continents rise in bas-relief above the oceans. But then: think of how it really is. These heights are just suggested; they’re there….when I think of walking across a continent I think of all the neighborhood hills, the tiny grades up which children drag their sleds. It is all so sculptured, three-dimensional, casting a shadow. What if you had an enormous globe that was so huge it showed roads and houses- a geological survey globe, a quarter of a mile to an inch- of the whole world and the ocean floor! Looking at it, you would know what had to be left out: the free-standing sculptural arrangement of furniture in rooms, the jumble of broken rocks in the creek bed, tools in a box, labyrinthine ocean liners, the shape of snapdragons, walrus. Where is the one thing you care about in earth, the molding of one face? The relief globe couldn’t begin to show trees, between whose overlapping boughs birds raise broods, or the furrows in bark, where whole creatures, creatures easily visible, live our their lives and call it world enough. What do I make of all this texture? What does it mean about the kind of world in which I have been set down? The texture of the world, its filigree and scrollwork, means that there is a possibility for beauty here, a beauty inexhaustible in its complexity, which opens to my knock, which answers in me a call I do not remember calling and which trains me to the wild and extravagant nature of the spirit I seek.
Annie Dillard
And now it is said of meThat my love is nothing because I have borne no children, Or because I have fathered none;That I twisted the twig in my handsAnd cut the blossom free too soon from the seed;That I lay across the fire,And snuffed it dead sooner than draft or rain.But I have turned away and drawn myself Upright to walk along the room alone. Across the dark the spines of cactus plants Remind me how I go—aloof, obscure, Indifferent to the words the children chalk Against my house and down the garden walls. They cannot tear the garden out of me,Nor smear my love with names. Love is a cliff, A clear, cold curve of stone, mottled by stars, smirched by the morning, carved by the dark sea Till stars and dawn and waves can slash no more, Till the rock’s heart is found and shaped again.I keep the house and say no words, the evening Falls like a petal down the shawl of trees. I light the fire and see the blossom dance On air alone; I will not douse that flame, That searing flower; I will burn in it.I will not banish love to empty rain.For I know that I am asked to hate myself For their sweet sakeWho sow the world with child.I am given to burn on the dark fire they make With their sly voices.But I have burned already down to bone. There is a fire that burns beyond the namesOf sludge and filth of which this world is made. Agony sears the dark flesh of the body,And lifts me higher than the smoke, to rise Above the earth, above the sacrifice;Until my soul flares outward like a blue Blossom of gas fire dancing in mid-air:Free of the body’s work of twisted iron.
James Wright