Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Broken Weir

For some reason we're always asking
Each other the names of everything,

Including the names of each other,
And we'll make up the names we don't know.

No one asked Adam to name the world.
Certainly the world didn't ask him,

But with every letter, I'm itching
To render this moment as catalogue--

Wind, hemlocks, firs, birches, and birdsong,
Creek roar, dandelions, bumblebees,

Blue-grey navies of rain-dragging clouds,
Snowy fogs rising off the glacier,

A straight shot of sun through the canyon,
A logging truck pounding down the road,

A toddler upstairs, taking her nap,
A mother downstairs meditating,

This bench, my shapeless old green sweater,
Cold ears, aching knees, moss on the trees--

Nothing that answers the question, what
Sort of purpose is there in naming

That could deserve such desperation
As fills up our lives and libraries?

What is it a well-made net captures
Half-rotted knots of my lines cannot?

Fish. Prey. Enemies. Nuggets of gold.
Words catch things by letting others go,

The rush of experience itself,
The stream that hurls life down through the world.

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