Sunday, October 9, 2022

To Narrate a Set of Nonnarrative Texts

The object makes a history
Of itself, if you can declare
That all within the set of it
Came into being the same way

Or as part of some extended
Process—or if you can at least
Define it all within borders,
Within some sturdy boundary.

You can examine this object
Now for its history, teeming
With particulars, inquiries
That will emerge as narrative.

To define an object fully
Enough is to make it a wave
Carrying history it makes
Over the ocean, not a part

Of the uncountable ocean,
But apart. You must labor, then,
To comprehend the entire set
That makes itself its history,

Its origins, trajectories,
Its shifting contents and patterns.
Here, again, narrative tempts you.
If not the first technology

For compressing transmissible,
Restorable information,
Narrative was nonetheless one
Of the earliest, the one most

Rooted in the way your mind works.
So. You have collected a set
Of phenomena as object.
Objects make stories. Don’t forget.

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