Thoughts at the Public Library

Despite my best intentions, my blog has been quiet over the past few months. Sitting on the second storey of the Alexandria Public Library, I find myself considering this silence as I looked to the street below. Occasionally, a car blurs by. Tree branches bow in the breeze. The day has been cool and breezy, a necessary respite from yesterday: a 90º slog in high humidity. The wind aside, the day bears the mark of stillness.

I’m thinking of Wallace Stevens’s poem, “Of Mere Being,” in which “[t]he wind moves slowly in the branches” of “the palm at the end of the mind.” Even in this near stillness, there is the implied rustling of the wind through the fronds. In conceiving a poetic image, there is the ethical imperative to make some noise, to avoid the impulse to retreat into silence, to have a voice (no matter how slight it might be).


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