Issue 149, Winter 1998
A deer!—nibbling on the few green things
that grow in my strawy meadow.
Mine, we say here: my studio, my meadow, my road.
It is as it is. We were born
to possess it all and more. There's no longer
a chance to change direction. So have one. Have a meadow
Try it on—there are black-eyed Susans in your hair.
Have a deer. Have a deer fly—(I had two
of them yesterday. My stained tablet backs me up).
Have a swallow. Try to hold it in your throat
as it goes down beyond the pines of your forest.
But first feel its presence, try to catch
its essence. Before the words intrude.
Or were they there before you even saw it?
My. Mine. The exultant mind!—
as incapable as an ant of evading the trail
to its hole. But look down into that hole:
it's full of everything you've seen or can hope to see.
Do you think you could, for once,
see something—maybe a deer—and not think the word?
Even if you tried with all your "faculties,"
even if you tricked yourself that you had,
some part of your mind would have whispered deer
(the mind's equivalent of saying mine).
Now you possess it. It is your deer.
See how nicely it fits with all the other things:
it finds the stall of its category—the strawy room
in your father's house that was prepared for it.
Wasn't that you at the door with your mother
as she pointed to the things: meadow, swallow, deer,
so you would know them when you woke?
The things she overlooked, you discovered
in your books. You showed them to your mind,
and now when you see something rise from the meadow
with its gold furred shape tapering into a sting,
your mind rushes in, pointing to the page:
Honeybee, it tells you. (My honeybee.)
Why would you want to stop it now? Didn't you
reward it with gold stars till now it struts like a priest,
mediating all your experience through its psalter?
What are you? you ask it.
It sifts the gilt-edged pages of itself, it moves
the satin ribbon to a field of gray—densely coiled
—through which hum the resplendent neurons—
extending themselves, synapse to synapse.
In the pots on their darting hips
is everything you've ever thought or known.
I am your mind, it says. My mind, it says,
as it contemplates itself—as if it had
created itself—with vanity and humility.