Maurice Manning

Mr. Blake’s Skin Don’t Dirt
December 14, 2014 Manning Maurice

Mr. Blake’s Skin Don’t Dirt

attributed to Catherine Blake


Because the vanishing point hovers

ridges away and miles in the distance

of gray-green oblivion

to illuminate on a nearer ridge

the white speck of a house, it opens

the mind to wonder beyond what is seen

and only dimly perceived.  I like

this kind of scene—very little

is known, and yet it’s decorated

lavishly with absence.  Art,

before it’s made, may be like this,

and art, when finished or left unfinished,

may be like this.  And love, so long

in understanding, may be like this.

I suppose we need reflection, we need

something beyond us pointing back.

And perhaps we need to imagine a house,

no bigger than a dot on the ridge,

is the home of someone who spends the morning

or evening dabbling in beauty,

or having elevated thoughts

on what makes beauty beautiful

and how something missing is key.

And perhaps we need to look at the world

and imagine something that isn’t there

and then imagine something that is.

Maurice Manning’s most recent book is Railsplitter.  He lives with his family in Kentucky.