A nailing of signs to the tree of life,


reminding us of the need
to stay clear of the sights
of shotgun English,

and to learn to walk swiftly,
without a sound...

truth, trust, betroth— words
from one root, "to be constant,"
"stand like a tree,"

...and to beware of that other sound
to ugly to utter, "a riveting of suffering to a..."

It is true: the only truth we can hang
on the tree of life is that truth
will not be nailed to a tree.


A hundred years ago,
on top of Mount Adams,
Mount Saint Helens,
Mount Hood,

anyone would have said, that—

   these forests
   go on



50 years ago, trout and
salmon still swam the entire
length of the Rhine, from
North Sea to the Alps;

The last were seen in 1958.
30,000,000 people depend on
this same water too polluted to support
the life-cycles of these noble fish.

First the forests are cut down,
followed by flooding, forcing
us to further break the natural flow
with dams and straight channels,
which in turn cause more
erosion, and more flooding.

     In the Alps, of the 13,000
     kilometers of high country
     waterways, only 900 still
     run free.

There is no dam between these
rivers and the great Columbia.


What is clearly H2O in the laboratory

is at the source of the high mountain spring
somehow closer to the pure mystery of life.

One wonders: What does the water say?


After an interval
of twenty years, a pound
of DDT in the soil
will have, they say,
become 1/2 a pound
of DDT in the soil.

  For the mathematician,
  cutting a quantity in half
  can go on indefinitely.
  How the Earth measures
  these things, no one knows.

And yet, one wonders, what is
half of a mean, bitter thought?

How long does it take
to sound out completely—
without a trace—
in the heart 's house of another?


: it took a thousand years of sometimes
magnificent, sometimes doubtful, science
to learn to see Nature as a machine, and
more recently, a very sophisticated kind
of machine, called a system.

Then suddenly, some say the Earth is alive again.
That is: perhaps, as a hypothesis, which is a
thought or theory—an unsure ground, if you will—that
our thinking comes to"stand upon."  

   Earth, such a magnificent sound,
   carrying us every time we utter it into
   unknown depths and spaces...

And now a goddess, a new name? Do we need it?
Just think of the all the hard thoughtwork of
proving to others what to some may very well
seem obvious...

Something, surely, demonstrates itself in
the sound of that word itself: Earth—

it has to have come to us from somewhere, surely,
somewhere very, very alive.


It is true:

Changing but one note
in a Beethoven symphony
might destroy the whole;


studying the same
note in isolation
will not show us
a single



: when a machine is given the

attributes of life, or


: when a living being is given

the attributes of a machine.


The shape of the Universe?
an inward turning doughnut, an
expanding acorn, an exploding,
convoluted, multiple helix...

No other question takes thought
more quickly to the boundaries
of thought itself.

One wonders...is there a thought
which is outside thought and therefore
sees the shape of consciousness as a whole?


Recipe for a witch's brew—

mix: the desire to know
every detail in every detail,

together with,

: the thought which
says that this is possible.

  Is there a complete telephone book
  of the Universe?

  How many connections—unexpected calls,
  might there be between all the numbers?

One wonders:
Do you or I know ourselves so completely?


We shape the world and the world shapes us:
Twenty years ago...

: background,

prepackaged, plastic sounds,
all the lively features lobed off
in the filter of mediocrity;

unnoticed, transformed into—

: foreground,

without the long rows
of cereal boxes, detergents,
garbage bags and entertainment guides,

having come full circle,

now standing firmly—

    center stage.


A: a way of bringing people
and relevant, new, meaning
freely together;


B: a channel through which it is
easier and easier to say
more and more things which
are less and less worth knowing;


C: a network of trails and
paths that spans continents,
as we move on foot

from center to center

   to center.