The Plain Sense of Things by Wallace Stevens #2

Khalid Salman photo

The great structure has become a minor house. No turban walks across the lessened floors.

As with any koan, if you worry away at a line of poetry, as opposed to worrying away at a line of anxiety in your head, eventually the riddle will be solved, at least for you.

This is the case of the three weeks maybe even a month thinking about the turban and the lessened floors. It seems now about the inevitable loss of information but with that the retention of wisdom. The lessened floors of the leaves are falling away (information), but also lessoned as in “lessons”: all the stuff that was drubbed into your head from the age of four which you stayed up nights learning for exams. Almost none of it accessible now.

But the habit of exercising impulse control in order to sit and study for those tests has paid off. Maybe.

The Plain Sense of Things by Wallace Stevens #1

plain sense of thingsThis is a poem that seems to acknowledge that even when we can see the wood for the trees, even when we have explained the plain sense of things, we are still in mystery.

I’m writing this mid-walk through Harrow on The Hill near Shaw’s Convenience Store and Encanto Restaurant Delicatessen, and I am aware that woman who’s just popped out to buy a pint of milk from Hill Foods overhears the tail end my Siri dictation: “We are still in mystery” and thinks I am being obtuse and/or pretentious on the phone when in fact I am being both or neither to myself.