January 24, 2012

Night Journal

by Charles Wright

—I think of Issa, a man of few words:
The world of dew
Is the world of dew.
And yet . . .
And yet . . .

—Three words contain
                    all that we know for sure of the next life
Or the last one: Close your eyes.
Everything else is gossip,
                          false mirrors, trick windows
Flashing like Dutch glass
In the undiminishable sun.

—I write it down in visible ink,
Black words that disappear when held up to the light—
I write it down
               not to remember but to forget,
Words like thousands of pieces of shot film
                                            exposed to the sun.
I never see anything but the ground.

—Everyone wants to tell his story.
The Chinese say we live in the world of the ten thousand things,
Each of the ten thousand things
                               crying out to us
Precisely nothing,
A silence whose tune we’ve come to understand,
Words like birthmarks,
                      embolic sunsets drying behind the tongue.
If we were as eloquent,
If what we say could spread the good news the way that dogwood does,
Its votive candles
                  phosphorous and articulate in the green haze
Of spring, surely something would hear us.

—Even a chip of beauty
                      is beauty intractable in the mind,
Words the color of wind
Moving across the fields there
                              wind-addled and wind-sprung,
Abstracted as water glints,
The fields lion-colored and rope-colored,
As in a picture of Paradise,
                            the bodies languishing over the sky
Trailing their dark identities
That drift off and sieve away to the nothingness
Behind them
           moving across the fields there
As words move, slowly, trailing their dark identities.

—Our words, like blown kisses, are swallowed by ghosts
Along the way,
              their destinations bereft
In a rub of brightness unending:
How distant everything always is,
                                 and yet how close,
Music starting to rise like smoke from under the trees.

—Birds sing an atonal row
From tree to tree,
                  dew chants
Whose songs have no words
                         from tree to tree
When night puts her dark lens in,
One on this limb, two others back there.

—Words, like all things, are caught in their finitude.
They start here, they finish here
No matter how high they rise—
                             my judgment is that I know this
And never love anything hard enough
That would stamp me
                   and sink me suddenly into bliss.

No comments: