Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Exegetical Impulse

When I do not write first thing after prayer - that blue-black moment before the sun rises but after the dog and I have counted uncountable stars - the writing changes. One looks outward - yields, perhaps, to the exegetical impulse - rather than inward. Distinguish, in other words, between goals and the quest for its own sake. The way we say it matters, but matters always, is what I'm saying.

The tops of the pine trees darken and the Jesus ever settled in their limbs softens as if ready at last to set himself adrift.

Well, I chose coffee instead of tea, pacing the small room over peering intently at empty pages (alternating from window to page to window). Letters have a salutary effect. One learns that to write is to love and that it is the love that is hard to understand and bring into application, not the writing. Decisions, as always, have to be made.

We follow the apparently unraveling thread until we learn its infinite nature at which point we can stop and dedicate ourselves to saying it.

Saying it just so, I mean. Yet I do equivocate, as the horse sometimes does, deciding whether to follow or simply to stand and wait. Sometimes it seems as if flakes of snow have been sifting down to our shoulders forever. One longs for what one cannot say.

To long is of itself to know eternity (I wrote in the nineteenth century).

And still it does not rain. Still you sit in the dark shadow that never deepens, never softens, awaiting the mail. Repetition is akin to whistling past the graveyard of meaning. You cannot take it seriously, nor seriously enough.

This, the first writing of the day, as noon draws near, and all the ghosts who always stand between me and my pencils.

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