for Don McKay & Jan Zwicky
Moonset at sunrise, the mind
dividing between them. The teeth
of the young sun sink through the breast of the cloud.
And a great white pelican rests in the bay,
on his way from Great Slave Lake
The mind is made out of the animals
it has attended.
In all the unspoken languages,
it is their names.
Mule deer, black bear, killer whale, salmon.
To know means to hold no opinions: to know:
meaning thinks, thinking means.
The mind is the place not already taken.
The mind is not-yet gathered beads of water
in the teeth of certain leaves –
Saxifraga punctata, close by the stream
under the ridge leading south to Mount Hozameen,
for example – and the changing answers of the moon.
The mind is light rain gathered
on the ice-scarred rock, a crumpled mirror.
To be is to speak with the bristlecone
pines and the whitebarks,
glaciers and rivers, grasses and schists,
and if it is permitted, once also
with pelicans. Being
is what there is room for in that
conversation. The loved is what stays
in the mind; that is, it has meaning,
and meaning keeps going. This
is the definition of meaning.
What is is not speech.
What is is the line
between the unspeakable
and the already spoken.