What we see
Tonight in my workshop we described the scene outside our window: a policeman supervised the removal by tow truck of a tar kettle that had, apparently, somehow collided with a streetlight before we arrived.
Each of us wrote the scene quite differently.
In The Art of Description, Mark Doty writes, “It’s incomplete to say that description describes consciousness; it’s more like a balance between terms, saying what you see and saying what you see.”
Did we change the scene by writing it? Did the scene change us?
In this excerpt from “Planetarium,” Adrienne Rich writes,
What we see, we see
and seeing is changing
the light that shrivels a mountain
and leaves a man alive
Heartbeat of the pulsar
heart sweating through my body
The light, a heartbeat, a mountain, the pulsar, a man, my body.
Or Doty’s balance between the terms.