Grey Scale / Zukofsky
John Taggart




To become aware of tones



beginner's problem in the mind of the beginner



visualization of white of whiteness


which is impossible



I saw an egret in a scraggly cedar above


Big Spring





Williams said no whiteness is so white as the memory of whiteness



in a cedar or motionless in water/the tall grasses.





Silver maple woods what Jennifer named


the scarey woods


scarey so dense and so dark




dense with undergrowth


with heaped-up multiflora rose with jewelweed











a or the or neither and darker than







black wings at rest on jewelweed blackness without dots or density.









Middle grey











to break up cast-iron machines


bow saw to cut down weedy box elders shot up around the machines






in which to make a cleared space to find limestone/middle grey




Pound said wind is part of the process




rain part of the process.









Three tones + other tones




glaring surface of snow in flat sunlight it's a white world wilful travelers


without colored and coloring glasses


long gone/lost




snow in full shade


white with delicate textures sand dune ripples any Bach fugue




average snow




average white skin the shadow of your smile




leaves of trees their shadows


no snow




dark material dark fur dark grey cat named "Friendly."





Three tones + other tones + two tones






Richard Avedon's 1958 photograph of Pound a postcard a bookmark


darker closed


eyes wrinkled texture of sagging skin around eyes



and darker closed lips no texture almost no-tone tone




"but shall have his sorrow for






two tones




first suggestions/thresholds of his sorrow.













the great photographs are black and white and middle grey




Weston's camera


on Point Lobos reclining shadow of eroded






Ansel Adams at Yosemite and


elsewhere morning star aspen leaves




Stieglitz portraits of Georgia O'Keefe not simply not necessarily great




not because of subject matter this is the American




earth and personages.









The great




result of reduction and the composition of reductions




resulting in intensity Williams


said the only human value = intense






intense face of sorrow


on a postcard




although there are other emotions and although there are other














And so I come


to this


to the one/only photograph on my wall




and am I not one of those travellers wilful or merely stubborn


still an isolato still










home to Ralph Eugene Meatyard's 1968 photograph




on my wall.













No eyes/closed eyes




behind large dark glasses darker than leaves of trees their shadows


made larger/darker by wings/rock eyebrows




the mouth is also closed












to shadow face


large on a neck of average white skin.













No face = no image = no memory




eyes + mouth + what's been overlooked/unremembered


beginner's error




+ an ear for instance






image of intense attention




what I remember = "only song matters"




not one song only but one/only photograph


on my wall.












Call it a cadenza/some travelling music




off the scale




and beyond the question of who's the fairest of them all




of them all watching over me








after a or the or