Artists of the West: Art and the Environment: Three Voices

“The world is not with us enough …” — Denise Levertov


Images of the West: Arthur Rothstein in Butte

Capturing a town’s enduring character

Photo by David Marx

Back 40

Written by Paul Zarzyski  

Paul Zarzyski

Other Contributions

Back 40
August 2016

Deep Hidden Meaning, 
Deep Hidden Morning, on Mute

Letter by penciled letter, graphite,
biting into the cellulose
molecular make-up of lined notebook paper,
amplifies almost too much
Stratocaster guitar clamor. Window slid open,
not one syllable, not one decibel, not one
sixteenth note trickles through
a single square of screen
mesh above this desk. Insect wings
do not flit. All avian pastorales
cancelled, aspen leaf lenticels yawn
on fixed stems. The acrobatic
second hand, abandoning its steadfast
cartwheel laps around the track,
tiptoes in slippers
above the cotton batten
clock face — time no longer
of the essence. In this tick-less,
bark-less, chirp-less, lawnmower-less
monolithic dawn, what greater
veneration of each heartbeat
shushing the blood
entering the cathedral’s nave — what
higher praise of every pious breath
genuflecting with awe into the light —
than to take note, tranquil
note, of this thin smoke
of words, this inaudible whisper,
flameless, with nothing at all lofty to say.
                               for Doctor Bonnie Friehling