Held by the collar, the pencil sniffs
Across a page of hard blank snow
Picking up the scents of things
That passed this way not long ago.

–July 22, 1988

(“Tracker” appeared in the Winter 2000 issue of The Neovictorian/Cochlea, Madison WI.)


One day I was writing in my office and the thought struck me that the pencil moving across the paper sounded as though it were sniffing out what I was trying to say. From there it was easy to imagine this tool as a hunting hound and myself as the tracker who, in a figure for artistic discipline, held the hound in check “by the collar,” the pencil shaft at the upper edge of its shaved point. The blank paper became a landscape of snow, “hard” because of the difficulty of finding on it the expression I wanted but nonetheless containing the prey-like tracks of that expression. Instead of seeing it as the projection of writer’s block, the white sheet of paper has always struck me as containing the footprints of one’s theme. Put in a different metaphor, it is the seminal substance which fertilizes the ova of the imagination.

Published on November 5, 2006 at 2:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

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