hey, psycheI learned there’s nothing more shaming
or as memorable as an intimacy
unreturned. And turned, therefore,
to the expected silence of a page,
where I might simultaneously assert
and hide, be my own disappointment,
which saved me for a while.
But soon the page whispered
I’d mistaken its vastness for a refuge,
its whiteness for a hospital
for the pathetic. Fill me up, it said,
give me sorrow because I must have joy,
all the travails of love because
distances are where the safe reside.
Bring to me, it said, continual proof
you’ve been alive.
from "Turning to the Page," by Stephen Dunn“In the end, then, we’re all readers. And the act of reading is an active choice to receive – and also to participate, to imagine, to interpret. It’s a kind of gift we make to writers, in fact – just as much as their writing may seem a kind of gift to us. We choose to let their words in. To let them “flame amazement” in our minds, where they may indeed prove incendiary.