Learning in the Imperfect

What do we learn from those

deckled pages peeking from the

covers of Dickens’ with the sketches

by Phiz, pressed against O. Henry’s essays

impassioned pleas by Rachel Carson,

the tattered stacks of field guides, maps?


Did we take the blue highways of

William Least Heat Moon, buy the

slim book of poems after that

reading on the river front to cry

and rage, ache with discovery even

as we nodded, agreeing to agree that


someone needed to write down those

lessons for the rest of us to shelve in

sealed repositories, stack beside our beds?

Is what is written more valuable than

what we choose to read, the broadsheet

fluttering on an inner city wall as read


as the crumbling bundle of letters in

the green trunk? Learning in the imperfect,

then, the ing of stories come to life from which

we glean nuance, coded messages cast upon

the waters of the Nile and the Amazon to return

as raining wisdom on Africa, the bayou in


Mississippi, to slide down the face of the Rockies,

to climb with the Sherpa. Lessons leaping from

pages, inciting, indicting, premise and argument

the learning an open invitation, a hand held out

from the heart, a telling to prove or disprove,

always imperfect, ongoing, no past tense, no e(n)d.