Tuesday, July 6, 2010

we long for completeness

the story as basic as breath

the world is filled with stories
and many times we hear only snatches of them,
just enough to pique our interest, and not enough to satisfy our curiosity,
it’s as if we pass by door after door in a multiplex
and fragments of movies slip out into the hall and pull at us,
or as if a radio is set on scan and we hear a few seconds of each station,
or as if another surfs television channels and doesn’t hold with any one,
we eavesdrop as we pass through the world
while not much can pause long enough
for tantalizing tidbits to pull together into much coherence,

all of this comes back to the bear for me today,
for the bears are not around and I don’t know
where they are or what they’re doing,
whenever it’s not winter I search for them,
and I thrill when they just pass by,
pulled by whim and hunger I suppose, but do not know,
maybe their curiosity is from more than their stomach, or maybe not,
the longest fragments of their story I hear
are when they’re eating, climbing trees for acorns and fruit,
digging up a yellowjacket next for the pupae,
or when they let me follow them around the neighborhood
as they follow the scout of the nose,

though once I also saw two late season cubs
stand on their back legs and almost dance with each other,

plants don’t move or hide like animals do,
and we can think we know the story of a tree, a flower,

yet they’re so distant from us
they can become as musical score behind the action,

streams tell us a lot about their present,
though we have to read the shape of the stones
and the hollows in the slopes

to guess at what happened before
or will happen after,

we can think we know each other
while stories we can’t even guess at
can lie hidden within the shaping past,

we live in a world of fragments
and we long for completeness
so we create as best we can,
we watch, we listen, and we imagine,
and, like our eye will do with a bit of movement,
we see a whole that might be what the part begins to reveal,

an aspect of why I like to write is
I get a glimmer
and I let a fullness then unfold with my pen upon the page,

we love stories,
for, in their completeness,
they meet a need in us
as basic as breath.

by Henry Walker
July 2, ’10

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