Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Spirare: Evening at Point Dume

Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Spirare: Evening at Point Dume

Article excerpt

The origin's unknowable,

But since in it one spirit leaves yet cleaves

Unto another, perhaps the Proto-Indo-European,

Perhaps a kind of verbal smoke ring

Uttered behind a glottal stop,

Meant ghost and breath at once.

Then it would be as though we were to find

"Aphorism" and "horizon" rhizomatous,

Sprung from some Ur-word meaning definition,

And in the process to eliminate

Limits between

The flatly said and flatly seen

And to illuminate by its black light

Impossible conversations,

As of sea and sky,

In a kind of pastel spindrift or sfumato.

As though to see how elegance bled into diligence.

As though to say "precocious" ripened merrily to "apricot"

And deliquesced to "drupe,"

Or stranger once implied both host and guest

(The former's home a hostile hostel

Providing bread and fruit and rest)

And rhymed with "ghost."

As though to think that reddish, ashen, and blue-black

All lived in "livid," one whole sunset

And perfect plum of a word. …

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