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Thursday, 18 June 2009



File:Polished slice of petrified wood.jpg

One designates this as it was then in one's mind--
This place of water and sweet greenery
This fault in space at the end of time,
A place separated from other places
As in the beginning paradise
Was separated from humankind
By a fault--and so it was apes became
Separated from paradise--in paradise
Every thing has its own sign, so that
There was no need for language, in paradise
One could converse with herons and with pines
Without need for other kinds of signs
But all of this was happening on the other
The other side the other side of the fault
Line that separated humankind from
Paradise and paradise from humankind
And so too then in the end it was by
A fault that we were separated
From that paradise.

File:Ardea cinerea Luc Viatour.jpg

Polished slice of petrified tree from Arizona, containing homesteads and remains of living things from Late Triassic (c. 230 million years ago): photo by Michael Gabler, 2009
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea): photo by Luc Viatour, 2009


Mariana Soffer said...

Reality is never completely proportional. Part of it's magic is given by it's imperfection and by its impossibility to reach it.

Dale said...

Tom, this is marvelous. "A fault..." Thanks.

TC/BTP said...

Imperfection, impossibility, flaw and fault... necessary to accept these things. More difficult step, to embrace them--in the world, or in oneself; from over here, on what always feels like the wrong side of what always looks like not quite the right track.

Then again, Mariana, this was recently discovered on the night table amidst the midden of spilled calcium channel blockers, ACE inhibitors, etc.: an old note to self from a time when I'd been working on a painting: the note says "Crowd Asymmetry". Translation to self: Celebrate the disproportionate magic of reality.

George Mattingly said...

This is great. So much power in everyday words.

Dylan graduated from Berkeley High (at the Greek Theatre last Friday) -- an embarrassing ass-numbing 5 hours that filled me with despair and anger -- and one of the entertainment items (5 separate servings) was "poetry."

Which didn't even rise to the level of "spoken word" or "slam." All about "I" and "me" and nothing (nothing) else.

Whole generations (at least in this culture) have NO idea what poetry is.

Were they to read this poem they might begin to glimpse the power there just begging to be tapped.

Anonymous said...

You have put into delightful words the idea of that perfection man will never reach, which he has projected in the image of a lost paradise for centuries. I loved the line "There was no need for language..." Communication with nature was implicit. The primitive peoples had that. Do you think we will ever recover it?

TC said...

Thank you Lucy.

Sometimes one slips into wordless states, states where the words don't fit on the things, and then there are just the things, no labels, and at that point they cease to be things and turn into parts of something that's open, flowing, inconclusive .. at such moments we recover wordlessness, but of course that is not yet a form of communication. Still perhaps it's a place from which communication can begin, in a new and different kind of language?