Dorothy walking from Kendal to Grasmere and Grasmere to Keswick,
a mere 33 miles, from Alfoxden to Lynmouth and back again for the sake
of a landscape, an internal painting, refining in brushstrokes a new form
of breathing. She could breathe again, and wrote it up, notational: March 30:
Walked I know not where. March 31: Walked. April 1: Walked by moonlight.
Walked till blind. Walked by wind. Walked into time. Hunkered woman,
dove-shaped as the hand takes on the size and shape of a bird across
the pages of a journal: Walked in silence. Walked inside. And was neither
heard nor herded, although I sensed the gathering forces trying to gather up
the indeterminate group of all things headed forward. I will sort them.
William in his happiness      without a cloud      owed it all
and from it came      a life of living      William said
to these unbeautiful legs     I owe the fact      that I am lost
and though have walked      almost 200,000 miles      I owe
my life      and will gladly pay its weight in cloud.      For whom
there was no difference      to walk      simply was to write and
vice-versa.      Rhythm as a mode of sight      in walking saw
with faceted eye and the colors all on the inside—for instance
he opened his hand      and there in the palm      the road
walked alone and someone fell into step as he glided off once
again there is no him
before a strong wind      the colors deepen      the greens sinking
even diving      and the farther he walked      the deeper it went
seven miles      just to get the mail       and another fifteen to meet
a friend for tea.
And the writing itself must be a figuration of the walk itself, which
should wander unruling the paper and thus all the inventions that
order the world—the classification of the plants and animals—all this
in William’s hand      written in a crossed letter as one would
shadow a favorite acre as he walked      up and down the path
in his garden, calling it a journey left behind.