Mortal Soul, Moral Soul | Lapham’s Quarterly

The Veteran in a New Field (detail), by Winslow Homer, 1865. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bequest of Miss Adelaide Milton de Groot (1876–1967), 1967.

What happens when private grief becomes common experience?

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In Antarctica a human voice — depending on air temperature, wind direction, the quality of the ice to refract sound—can be heard almost two miles away. There are few places of such silence on this earth. But there are other ways, if we have the desire and the will, to hear voices from a distance, even when that silence is gone. And it can still be found in our communion with literature, with art — a deep privacy that is simultaneously the voice of one mind, one soul, to another. There is no redemption in history. The dead remain where they are buried. But memory knows that the dead will float to the surface of the river. Memory knows the dead can read.

In your hands, my hunger. 

Anne Michaels

Source: Mortal Soul, Moral Soul | Lapham’s Quarterly

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