Why this?

The occasional poem of my own and a generous helping of work by others that I find inspiring. Site is named for a beloved book by one of my favorite writers, Italo Calvino, whose fanciful work lights--and delights--my soul.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Search for a Definition

(On Seeing a Painting by Bradley Walker Tomlin)

Always the smallest act

possible
in this time of acts

larger than life, a gesture
toward the thing that passes

almost unseen. A small wind

disturbing a bonfire, for example,
which I found the other day
by accident

on a museum wall. Almost nothing
is there: a few wisps
of white

thrown idly against the pure black
background, no more
than a small gesture
trying to be nothing

more than itself. And yet
it is not here
and to my eyes will never become
a question
of trying to simplify
the world, but a way of looking for a place
to enter the world, a way of being
present
among the things
that do not want us--but which we need
to the same measure that we need
ourselves. Only a moment before
the beautiful

woman
who stood beside me
had been saying how much she wanted
a child
and how time was beginning
to run out on her. We said
we must each write a poem
using the words "a small
wind

disturbing a bonfire." Since that time
nothing

has meant more than the small
act
present in these words, the act
of trying to speak

words

that mean almost nothing. To the very end
I want to be equal

to whatever it is
my eye will bring me, as if
I might finally see myself

let go
in the nearly invisible
things

that carry us along with ourselves and all
the unborn children

into the world.

--Paul Auster

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