Thou Hast Blessed the Work of His Hands
December 1, 2003
Dec 1, 2003
2 Min read time
He was the one who would not use his face—
would keep it in reserve, would use his hands,
one at a time, alternately. Would use feet.
Would be happy when it suited, would
mourn when required. Such a poem as was
needed, he would make. Would want,
when those he loves are in pain,
to be. There. To bleed for all equally.
And here was a thing to believe: “to live whole
lives with littleness, how tired it makes us,
a sharp fear, this point to which the eye was
drawn—defames then defeats the hand—an agony
it is to follow self into its shameful needs” and
so forth. “Wherever you can: count” said
Francis Galton. We do not know most things.
I might know a few things. I can
rarely tell the difference. Where there are flocks
of Monk Parakeets, Green Neighbors, they rouse
us to collect feathers under streetlights
on nightly walks where are builded unsightly nests.
A dozen wild parakeets in furious formation fly
across the park swerve to streak past, accidental, me.
Pyromancy, a method of augury by reading
weblike patterns which appear on bone surface
following the application of heat, especially
favored in China—but what did it sound like
when the bone cracked, its surface crazed?
The sound of the word “sound,” as in “the sound
of young girls.” Or “the voices in my head.”
Complex looking, calligraphically.
Among things to love in this world are eyelet fabrics,
suggestive nests of absence promising
a glimpse of flesh and remembrance of touch,
of the feel of the young world.
The skin beneath the fabric shines—
Wann was a word for it, for gloss or sheen; Fealo
meant glint, the sparkle of sun, say, on waves;
while lux meant the source of light, color
the effect of that light on a surface, as of
the moistening skin beneath the eyelets.
Lumen, the ray of light traveling between
the surface and the eye, the source and
the surface; splendor was the word for
that final reflected, lustrous quality,
that which draws the hand inexorable.
“The winds sweeping the surface
of the waters diminish them, as does
the ethereal sun unraveling them
by his rays.” De Rerum Natura 5, 390.
When an electron “moves” to a higher orbit
it does not move but merely is now elsewhere—
once it was here, now it is there. This is not
possible in the old world where I used to live
by manufacture. The new world is one of
probabilities, where numbers add up
and the glint of sun on flesh is ephemeral.
All is diminished in his world, yet all the more
unaccountably glorious. We love it all,
and each the other, or so it seems. His hands
cracked a sound a second face fallen.
While we have you...
...we need your help. You might have noticed the absence of paywalls at Boston Review. We are committed to staying free for all our readers. Now we are going one step further to become completely ad-free. This means you will always be able to read us without roadblocks or barriers to entry. It also means that we count on you, our readers, for support. If you like what you read here, help us keep it free for everyone by making a donation. No amount is too small. You will be helping us cultivate a public sphere that honors pluralism of thought for a diverse and discerning public.
December 01, 2003
2 Min read time