not a pretty picture. not a good. not a bad. picture. but an argument.

Monday, August 8, 2016

a certain concretion of order, and notes


if i consider this feather and keep considering only this feather

hillary clinton and donald trump do not exist 
isis, nor brexit
the gentle canadian government with their claws withdrawn inside their paws does not exist
and the economy (which is country, and vice versa) is instantly and infinitely reduced
if i consider this and only this feather

if i consider this feather and only this feather
the amplitude of precision makes man mute
the threshold of becoming is rarefied into the wicket gate
the liminal gains ground and springs to wing
and death is softened by the vitality left after the body's fluke
if i consider this and only this feather

if i consider this feather and only this feather i exit the corridor of reality and enter the hall of artifice 
which is the bucket brimmed to full in perfect measure, more ample than reality 
personal sentimentality vanishes immediately, and the phoenix, which has waited in the clouds of the mind, awe, takes flight screeching like meadowlarks their elegy

if i consider this feather and only this feather, i can not imagine from whence it came, this bird
and if i consider this feather and only this feather, the fox's maw which snapped this bird is naught, its being in relation to this feather is retracted as simply absurd

if i consider this and only this feather my mind is teased by way of the path it devises directly back over the bruised blue, beyond erebus, the black, if i consider this and only this feather

this feather does not ease
this one means not life or death, sadness nor love, have not, but have 
this feather means is

if i consider this feather i am freed 
cut into, incised, the marrow i excised, a therapeutic act of nihilism
and thereby, by point of blade, vivified
the eye becomes complete alertness through the depths of blood (which, at the sight of this feather, rises to immeasurable heights like a cloak of rain) and travels beyond trammel along its flourish of stationary ridge of is, the abundant being of body an emblem like the bruised christ, oh this, one amongst the many, this -- this feather


from Hachadura by Robert Bringhurst


There is nothing like the razor 
edge of air, another

like the tongued pebbles, syllables
of sea-wind and sea-color and

a nothing and a nothing like the salt
hide drying inward, eating

in through the underbelly of bone,
the grain

of the sea-eaten iron, and the open
lattice of the wave.

There is nothing, moreover,
at which Eurytos never
quite arrives, tallying
the dust with the four-finger
unsheathed from the flesh of his hand.

Suppose, therefore, a certain
concretion of order,

unstable or at any rate in motion, but a certain
concretion of order inherent in one
in the innumerable
forms of such a number. Therefore:

darkness under the sunrise,
darkness in the hollow of the hand;

inside the spine the darkness, the darkness
simmering in the glands;

the rumpled blade of darkness which is
lodged in every fissure of the brain;

the membrane
of the darkness which is always

between two surfaces when they close.


The bird is the color of gunmetal
in sunlight, but it is midnight;
the bird the color of gunmetal
in sunlight is flying
under the moon.

There is a point at which
meridians are knotted
into nothing and a region
into which meridians fray and intertwine,
but not like mooring lines; they
fray like the leading and trailing edges
of wings, running from nothingness
to muscle and strung from the muscle back again.

Listen: the sounds are the sounds of meridians
trilling, meridians drawn to produce
the illusion of plectrum, tuning pegs and a frame,
or perhaps to produce Elijah's
audition: the hide
of the silence curing,
tightening into the wind.

Or the sounds are the sounds of the air opening
up over the beak and closing over the vane,
opening over the unmoving cargo slung
between the spine and the talon,
slung between the wingbone and the brain.


It is for nothing, yes, 
this manicuring, barbering, this
shaving of the blade.

Nothing: that is that the edge should come
to nothing as continuously 
and cleanly and completely as it can.

And the instruction 
is given, therefore, 
to the archer, sharpening

the blood and straightening
the vein: the same instruction
that is given to the harper:

Strum the muscle.

And come to nothing.


  1. Tiny Leaf,,,i think you ride on the feather of several wings....glenn

    1. glenn, incredibly we each do. or no less incredibly, each of us at least one.

  2. So much here..."like a cloak of rain" resonated with me and I'll have to drink in those five words for a week or two...without an umbrella, of course. The much, so painful yet joyous at the same time. The feather, like the ragged dragonfly's wing I found recently. I placed it tenderly into a silk lined box and glance at it often, like a precious diamond... It is all too much most days...this painful-intense sensitivity to all of life. I weep and I mourn that so very few understand or experience this, this poet-thing. I love and appreciate you, Erin, and your writings and courage in sharing the beatings of your heart so generously. Love...xo

    1. marion, the dragonfly's wing! yes)) from nothing. to nothing. with this bridge of substantial body and (within our response) boundless beauty. it bursts. can we truly see it? it hurts not to. and it hurts, what we can manage to. in every way, we must succeed in being thankful for the hurt.

  3. i exit the corridor of reality and enter the hall of artifice
    which is the bucket brimmed to full in perfect measure, more ample than reality

    do you mean artifice is what is beyond reality? more amply than reality? a curious selection for a word, and I was wondering if you could elaborate....I always feel your writing Erin, it is palpable

    1. imagine the bucket full and the water's reflective surface throwing to our eyes an image of the forest's lush fringe. we do love our reflections, don't we?

      i do think artifice is fuller than reality, amanda. it was and is a curious thing to think. but reality itself is somehow unimbued until we think it. for us the world is only the interpreted world. and so great power and depth lies in interpretation.

      we are buckets full of water.

      i wonder if i say anything. if i am speaking a coherent language. any language. or if i have the slightest idea...

      and yet i have had a real and formidable experience with this feather.

      the real feather i found on a trail in killarney while hiking. it was one thing to me then. a beautiful artifact of nature. a feather from a bird which had probably been eaten by a fox. (there were, after i discovered this first feather, many other feathers telling the likely tale.) then at home the feather, tucked into a book, was yet another thing. and then again one more thing, when i examined it closely with my camera the experience was profound and intimate. intoxicating. and removed the floor which i had been standing upon before. i found myself suspended in space alongside the feather. and then i was left alone with the image of the feather. this image resides in me now. deeply. astutely. but the real feather is tucked back inside the book. the bird is dead and gone. the fox most likely hungry again.

      perceive this feather and only this feather. this act itself is impossible to complete...

      and yet to try is to begin to broach the place where being scrapes against nothingness.

      consider art. consider why there is art. we react, for instance, not to fruit in the bowl but to the artistic impression of fruit in the bowl. we do not react to the fruit. but to what the fruit represents. to what the fruit speaks to us beyond being itself.

      consider the facts surrounding Syrian refugees. the facts are staggering. however, it is a single image of a little boy in a red t-shirt washed up on a beach that finally (and for a short duration) mobilized armies of humanity, that changed the policies of countries.

      if i continue i see that i undo my claim that sentiment disbands. it only disbands through work. it only disbands if one tries to stand naked upon the threshold of being. it only disbands if one wills it.

  4. Reality itself is unimbued until we think it. And the world we perceive is only our interpretation of it - yours, and mine, and everyone else's. This feather has, for you, and for me perceiving your interpretation, broached the place where being scrapes against nothingness. Thank you for that gift. Or perhaps I should thank the bird...


"Words at the limit of hearing, attributable to no one, received in the conch of the ear like dew by a leaf." (philippe jaccottet) or even a quiet presence is appreciated))