This afternoon I finished reading the third volume of Thoreau’s journal — the third of fourteen, as published in 1906 by Houghton Mifflin and Company. And I am set to begin The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, after reading the introduction for the fourth or fifth time early this morning. As with Whitman, I continue my habit of reading aloud — except in the case of The Letters of Henry Adams, which I am also reading, and which seem more suited to silence. Letters, journals, and poems — I just read in Thoreau, in a reference to spring flowers, the following: The spring flowers wait not to perfect their leaves before they expand their blossoms. The blossom in so many cases precedes the leaf; so with poetry? And I think of how many people there are in the world who would find this observation unremarkable, if not dull. To me, though, it is a flower, very much like those he is trying to describe. And it promises the fruit and the seed that sows and scatters his life. And likewise there are many who will find this dull. To them I offer the following weather report: wind, rain, and a gray sky full of fast-moving clouds; air so clean it would kill a sold-out politician, if he were not already dead to the truth.
January 27, 2020