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“A View That Wasn’t There Before”

Book Excerpt: A Clearing Space in the Middle of Being

A View That Wasn’t There Before

In the morning be one person, in the afternoon
another, and thereby escape the usual
constraints of existence, especially in terms
of expectations, not that doing so will
make much difference.
                                                      A healthy indifference
gives the matter a looseness that allows for
almost anything to enter in and be examined,
even what seems misplaced or beside the point
or strangely missing.
                                                      So recently found,
a word—like imbrication—though having
been an option all along, still can’t find
a way into a conversation without sounding
ridiculous, and that’s just one word, and
who can say how many more words might
                     REM says, “I came to disappear,”
which seems an echo of the Apostle Paul
saying one has to die to self, an idea certainly
not new but still revolutionary and ultimately
                          The truth is what doesn’t work
has a beauty, too, even a usefulness, and
often opens up a view that wasn’t there
before, as when a train passes and in its
aftermath a plastic bag is wind-caught
into a beautiful nowhere
                                                          that could lead anywhere—
into this or that realm, into another season,
into a context where meanings multiply,
into a conversation
                                           where no one has to speak.


[This poem originally appeared on November 8, 2019.]

“A View That Wasn’t There Before”

Jeff Hardin is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently Small Revolution, No Other Kind of World, and A Clearing Space in the Middle of Being. His work has been honored with the Nicholas Roerich Prize, the Donald Justice Poetry Prize, and the X. J. Kennedy Prize.