In the Beginning of Autumn, ’16
Nothing promised, certes nothing guaranteed,
nevertheless, for reasons of envy of finesse,
I entered upon this matter of momentary
finalities in what one might call confession.
But that’s not entirely “it.” It’s more like
discovery than ending each time I find
what I can say about a moment. And
each time it is a beginning as much as
anything. I needed to be familiar with
the archaeology that is language, times
and circumstances for words assimilated,
because there is no language without a past.
None can be made up on the spot, nor
stopped in its tracks for eternal definitions.
It can be played like musical notation.
be colors squeezed and daubed from a palette,
be sound that shapes thought. It contains
no meaning of itself but there is no being
without it. It yields to the temptations of
hierarchies all too easily. The fall of language
into the present is both more gradual and
more complete, and more remembering than
anything, but there it is, ample and fine.
You have it ready or you don’t. Used or
used by it but one gets to name the terms.
It is the body of the heart of the mind,
“Love’s Body,” Norman O. wrote, or fear’s.
You choose or are chosen.
Gordon Osing is Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing at the University of Memphis, where he founded the River City Visiting Writers Series.