Karl Kirchwey came back to campus last year and read this poem:
What did you think the color of learning was,
if not mica and hornblende flashing in a long-settled gray?
You look for a plane along which it will cleave
to admit the self, but it is you who are divided
always between resolution and doubt,
having read A small amount of fissile material
was smuggled across, remembering certain islands
long ago, the windblown passages between,
wild thyme on the offshore breeze from Lemnos
or the white slash of a coral runway at Tinian.
You open a book to the stories of changing forms
and see the guts of a mole exploded on the lawn,
a red-tailed hawk balanced, nonchalant, on the railing,
and the day's light cut on such a deep bias,
one February afternoon, with a thousand starlings
aligned in the branches of the silver pendant linden,
that it seems the whole earth will tip into a chasm of dark.
You write A secret lapis, shedding ... then stop.
Into what? The iridescent chatter of those birds,
the shoulder of the wind, any horizontal thing.