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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 9, Number 3, September 2015

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Patrick Doerksen
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


A Scholar’s Desk

I sit surrounded by books random and aloof, objects gathered by an alien intelligence and somehow linked by theme, intent, topic . . . Moby Dick, Gilead, After Virtue, Augustine and His Critics. He has let me study in his office. I needed his fob to get in, and now that I’m in I can hardly gather enough of my own mind into one space to read my book, so surrounded am I by his.

settling in
on the desk a strange family
smiling at me

I notice his reading journal. What has he been steeping himself in? He’s collected quotes. I read through in sips and soon enough I close the journal, as softly as I would back out of a room in which a group of strangers were arguing. “Nothing true can be said about God from a posture of defense.” “Whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul . . . then, account it high time to get to sea.” The quotes seem to me like those stones children collect, the ones that were once shiny and bright with intrigue but now, pulled from the clear lake or slippery river and put hopefully on the windowsill, have become dry and non-disclosing chunks of the dark earth. There is one, though, which has kept its luster for me. “If you think Truth can pass through that tiny opening called the mouth . . .”

at the window
the cuckoo’s comment
on spring

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