not that tired tale anyway about preliterate
people believing cameras would extract
their spiritual essence, nothing so obvious,
this valley of old farms, mist, trees,
a narrow, steep-banked brook,
of land, plants, houses, even people¾
a woman now, crossing a field¾
that it all endures only by the happenstance
of no one having decided to “develop” it,
bring in a highway from the turnpike,
construct subdivisions, parking lots, malls?
experience and will, what philosophers
surmised compels us to beauty and virtue,
this intricately knotted compound
which resists any less ambiguous locution.
which follows the slant of soil beneath it,
the mist functioned by the warmth of air,
which have no discernible logic, certainly
nothing one mind might consider sufficient?
the very shape and hue and texture of reality,
the sheen of surface, depth of shadow,
that lets the world stand for more than itself
were violated, so that everything I see,
despoiled, as though consciousness no longer
could distill such truths within itself,
so much at risk, as though a tear
had ineradicably fixed upon the eye.
from Repair 1999
also in Collected Works