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Friday, November 30, 2012

Thinking Sky (Apparently)

I keep a file of writing I want to remember, to think about--writing I admire.

I've been doing this for 20 years, so there are actually many files, ordered chronologically by the time of my discovery of the writing. I started a new file last week, and there are fewer than two pages in it thus far, but already there are three references to sky. Which are:

“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.”
Pema Chödrön


No Sky

Martha Ronk

after Robert Adams’s California: Views

No sky a gray backdrop merely and absence
and below: the scraggle of dusty fronds, the scrub oak and scrub jay
whose abrasive noises sharpen in response.

Shadows proliferate in deep furrows no sky above
merely a scrim registering conical thrusts, a heightened flurry &
outlines of branches, the dead ones slowly petering out.

magnificent ruin the cut through the field blasted chaparral

As I understand my job, it is, while suggesting order, to make things appear as much as possible to be the way they are in normal vision.

An unvoiced series of sentences, without articulation,
with gray shapes, formulating a syntax loosening and then tightening from edge to edge.

The frame sets a border down from which a thin straggle hangs at random &
like purposeful intrusion, and so unlike

and the interstate (in the title) missing from the photograph itself
merely a dry riverbed, the density of shadows trapped in the confusion
of bush and bush-like tree

except from higher up than the rest, its thin trunk arched against
no sky

colorless, less often remarked upon, appositely emotionless these days,
a relic, like the fan palm living at the edges of water.

Huineng, the Sixth Patriarch, famously put it this way: “Truth has nothing to do with words. Truth can be likened to the moon in the sky, and words to a finger. The finger can point to the moon, but it can never be the moon. To see the moon, you have to look beyond the finger.”  (from an interview with Chase Twichell at Chapter 16)

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