IX. Poem Written Eighteen Years after Having First Met the Poet Joshua Robbins on September 11, 2001
Faith is mute
with a muteness
All faith’s own.
It is nothing so resounding
As the muteness of god,
Structured though it is
By this same.
We had supposed
Poetry might be made still
And worked out the details
In patinaed college-town light,
The cigarette and whiskey-mucked
Cuffs of our blazers
Perfuming our ever-more-precise
Gesticulations, as if such precision
Might lead precisely anywhere.
We know by now both of us
What vain and clamorous silence
Comes of all that.
On the day we met
The world ushered in
The world it had prepared for itself
And became what it already was.
Our horror has reached its adulthood
And no longer finds any interest in itself.
It wakes disappointed each day from the dream
Of its falling from the height it had climbed.
I have said nothing, my friend,
This whole time and have ushered in
Thereby the world in which
I am committed to stay the course.
What the muteness speaks of
Is the air behind the air,
The sky behind the sky.
These also have nothing to say,
But their muteness
Is just the usual old one,
Same one one might hear any morning,
Any half-sober mid-life afternoon,
And not at all their own.
Jeffrey Schultz’s artist statement:
Title of series: Fifteen Variations on Themes from Levis.
In a series of fifteen brief variations, Schultz will meditate on a number of themes–some of them poorly recalled from memory, some of them badly obscured or poorly understood–from Levis’s work.