Sunday, August 09, 2009

As If We May Know

Nancy's backyard
Photo by D.R. Wagner

—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

We could never understand
The meaning of the sounds
We heard when the ice broke
Up on the lake. Groans and squeaks,
Great moaning and screeching, deep
Rumbles and a gnashing that bled
Into our nerves, lighting up synapses.

Recently, we have come to believe
That water carries the voices of all things.
Those who have no body or are unwilling
To find one, those who are changing from
One place or manifestation to another.

We are mostly water. All of life is
Mostly water. It occurs to us that
Ice may contain as many voices as
The crashing of waves or the falling
Rain, great waterfalls, hail, sleet, soft
Snow and the breaking up of winter
Beneath our feet as we walk the woods.

Certainly there is language in pools,
Fountains with their entertainment,
A rushing of rapids, the sounds of newborns
In rivulets, brooks and vernal streams
Down hillsides. Secret drippings in caves
Have much to disclose as does window
Glass, stopping all kinds of water against
Its water-like self, amplifying and making
Rhythmic so much of water. The freshlet,

The rumblings of arroyos deep in desert,
The calving of icebergs, the melt before
Volcanoes, even burst pipes spraying
The air with water. All these things
May be voices, trying to convey to us,
The living, what it is to be such a great
Part of water as we are conscious beings.

Still we never could understand any
Such activity as having meaning. We
Must change it in some way. We press
To explain things to one another as if we
May know. Language is as liquid to us all.