Stumbling Upon Little Gidding

© Matthew Word Bain

the more familiar a landscape
the more drifting through it feels
like turning to the first page of a book
you have just finished reading

foraging for photographs
is like foraging for nuts and berries
supply is limited by time and by location
and can be exhausted until renewed

with repetition, features that stand out
exert a stronger gravitational pull
quiet corners are missed
as novelty gives way to habit

I’ve been casting about for ways
to disrupt this pattern:
observing on a smaller scale
focusing on the way the light changes
shuffling direction and sequence
in what begins to feel
unkind both to habit and
to novelty as if I were
squeezing novelty
from habit like water
from a dry cloth

perhaps habit
itself is transformed
eventually…by a process
of maturation in which a stage
is reached when the whole thing shifts
and, as I have not ceased from exploration
novelty arises as I arrive where I began
“And know the place for the first time
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning.”