Arts

The Wind and the Grass Taking a Deer for a Walk Among the Dead

Snow, then sun, then snow, then wind, then sun, with both wind and sun coming in at a low angle, but not too much sun, turns the bunchgrass into a series of waves. We are on the open sea here.

Look how the deer that crossed this fjord (?) followed in the path of the wind, as the grass shaped it. It’s hard to say where grass ends and wind begins, or where snow ends and the sun begins, or where the sun ends and deer begin. That’s because the words are messing with us. Perhaps a real word for this would be: wind-woven-with-sun-grass-deer-stand. Perhaps the verb for that, stripped of human-centricity, would be “walking”, with the rest being culturally understood. Isn’t that how culture works? Isn’t that how poetry works, or did, before its new iteration as a tool for managing human social relations only, before it lost the ability to be that image above? Fortunately, it is not lost.

As children of denatured language, we might approach this slope thinking “up” and begin to climb straight up the slope, but this combination of grass, snow and wind would teach us soon enough to stand at the intersection of grass and earth, to let grass hold us, and to cut across the slope, following the deer following the wind. Walking, in other words, can be poetry, which suggests that it is the walking that is the poetry, that what takes place in a poem in words is a walking through words, through the living tombs of one’s ancestors, but don’t you think they want to get out now and then and breathe, or maybe pee on a rock?

Shouldn’t we be taking down the walls of our schools? If we want our kids to speak the Earth, they’re going to have to learn it from the Earth, not from us. Perhaps the dead, not being dead and being closer to the Earth, are skipping us, the lost generations. They need our help. Without our help, the language is closing in tighter and tighter around us.

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