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By this time, we are both an open secret. — James Wright
He also showed me a tiny thing in the palm of my hand, the size of a hazelnut. I looked at this with the eye of my soul and thought: ‘What is this?’ And this is the answer that came to me: ‘It is all that is made.” — Julian of Norwich
Hold a hazelnut up to your eyes
as a lens for seeing through,
then wake to a katydid and say its name.
Stand in a room and stare at the wall,
then ask yourself what exists between
you and the wall. These are the ways
for seeing the distillation that turns
your blood to the color of a maple leaf
in autumn. Know each living
and inanimate thing as a prescription
for “seeing blindness,” then see
in blindness how suddenly visible
are the things you couldn’t see before
when you were only seeing. Behold,
therefore, how mystifying is the world
and also risible, no matter how ugly
or deadly: a bobfish here, a viper there.
Hear how they cry in silence, as if silence,
too, were a word stripped of sound,
so only those who crave the secret
of the Hand above the dark and bottomless
waters can see and hear the Cloud
that’s also the Palm of the Hand
that passes over the waters. So holy,
whole, and beguiling is each enormous
tiny thing that when you see them all
together through the lens of a hazelnut,
you feel so shriven you speak their names
in the dark until each thing becomes
your name as well—mullein, elder,
pokeweed, elm…; each one a synonym
for the other, despite their differences;
such is the blessing of irony in every thing,
as well as nothing; each name so true
and therefore original you revel in them,
including your own, the one you were given,
no matter how plain or unusual,
no matter how difficult or riven.
Such are the notes to the music of being
that plays each time you carry its tune.
Copyright 2020 Chard DeNiord
Chard deNiord is the author of many books including In My Unknowing (Pitt, 2020). He lives in Vermont.