According to whether we are in the same place or separated from the other, I know you twice. There are two of you. When you are away, you are nevertheless present for me. This presence is multiform: it consists of countless images, passages, meanings, things known, landmarks, yet the whole remains marked by your absences, in that it is diffuse. It is as if your person becomes a place, your contours horizons. I live in you then like living in a country. You are everywhere. Yet in that country I can never meet you face to face.
Partir c’est mourir un peu. I was very young when I first heard this sentence quoted and it expressed a truth I already knew. I remember it now because the experience of living in you as if you were a country, the only country in the world where I can never conceivably meet you face to face, this is a little like the experience of living with the memory of the dead. What I did not know when I was very young was that nothing can take the past away: the past grows gradually around one, like a placenta for dying.
In the country which is you, I know your gestures, the intonations of your voice, the shape of every part of your body. You are not physically less real there, but you are less free.
What changes when you are there before my eyes is that you become unpredictable. What you are about to do is unknown to me. I follow you. You act. And with what you do, I fall in love again.”
And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos
“To leave is to die a little.”
“ Used to tell my ma sometimes
When I see them ridin’ blind
Gonna make me a home out in the wind
In the wind, Lord, in the wind
Make me a home out in the wind ”
“I Was Young When I Left Home”
The best reward in going to the woods
Is being lost to other people, and
Lost sometimes to myself. I’m at the end
Of no bespeaking wire to spoil my goods;
I send no letter back I do not bring.
Whoever wants me now must hunt me down
Like something wild, and wild is anything
Beyond the reach of purpose not its own.
Wild is anything that’s not at home
In something else’s place. This good white oak
Is not an orchard tree, is unbespoke,
And it can live here by its will alone,
Lost to all other wills but Heaven’s—wild.”
So where I most am found I’m lost to you,
Presuming friend, and only can be called
Or answered by a certain one, or two.
Sabbath poem II
“ I will be a tree climber.
I will not know gravity,
I will not know gravity. ”
“Hands in Dirty Ground”
Great Lake Swimmers