The branch of the pepper tree hangs down 16 1/2 inches below the middle of the double-hung, wood-frame window. I can no longer speak of the pepper branch without feeling compelled to measure the degrees in the angle it creates away and toward the tree. Without knowing degrees how can I calculate the wind’s velocity by change?
Once I might have noted the wind and the branch
engaged in their experience together,
looking for another knowledge
without cause/effect or quantity to prove life moves,
pleased as the child is, simply with the motion
rocking the heart, with the contentment
only the faithful know which requires no substantiation
that life lives.
“We must think of the imaginative writer
as being both inside and outside the
figures and emotions he describes. We
see into the life of things and it is
the seeing that matters.”
Now I am afraid to speak without precision
in the absence of proof, save perception,
having dined too many nights with methodology
and numbers. I have forgotten all I ever
knew and dismissed all I yearned for/
a green fan brushing the sky’s cheeks.
“For the imagination, as it is employed
by the poet, is the faculty by which life
is grasped in its individual forms, and
human beings and living things are shown
as they live and move. It cannot and does
not wish to arrest its imagined figures so
as to submit them to a precise examination,
for it is in their movement that they live.”
I see now the branch hangs only below the outer
frame of the upper pane of the window. It was
but my imagination which made it dip deep beneath
the center of what the eye framed. I am a fool
again with poor measurements misappropriating
space. Let me correct the statement: The pepper
branch hangs slightly, an unmeasured amount, below
the edge of the upper frame of the wooden, double-hung
windows, occupying approximately the upper left
corner. Truthfully, I know nothing of the wind/
its rate of speed/no hint of its meaning.
“Imagination is, indeed, the most imperfect
thing; it is not dependable, it can come and
go. The justification for its imperfection
is that it gives us a more profound and
various understanding of life than personal
experience or practical sense ever can.”
What does the wind care of men’s calculations?
Does she worry herself that measured speed is
the essence of her motion?
“The poetic imagination cannot prove or
demonstrate, but only divine, persuade.
The real achievement of science lies in
the proof. The poetic imagination can
never reach that point, nor has it any
wish to do so; it remains in its own
world of inspired or uninspired guess-work,
what it says may be true or false.
The poet can prove nothing. Does the wind move?
Is there a tree? How precisely does one measure
an angle which does not exist? Does the wind
worry? Does she feel confined by man’s calculations?
ah, but the imagination . . .
“no humane and civilized society
can ever dispense with it.”
and what number can give me my heart back. What
science can make me remember my name? How do I
find my way back to life within the wind?