Archive - May 1, 2005


How the world is.

"White dawn. Stillness"

I remember when I first heard those words intoned.

This is College of Wooster. This is my freshman year. The year is nineteen hundred and seventy-seven. Denise Levertov is speaking at the installation of Henry Copeland as the college's ninth president. I am mesmerized as I hear her read "A Tree telling of Orpheus", and like the tree, I too am changed.

Years later, I read "Chekhov on West Heath"

"This is Hampstead. This
is Judge’s Walk. It is nineteen hundred
and forty-one.
The war? They take it for granted;
It was predicted while they were children,
And has come to pass. It means
no more ballet school, Betty is ill,
I am beginning to paint in oils.

The war is simply
how the world is, to which they were born.
They share
The epiphanies of their solitudes"