I took a walk this afternoon, around the East Side (of Providence). Sunny & brisk outside. I was cogitating the next Lanthanum passage... thinking about time & memory & my own time & memories... about Proust & Augustine & Nabokov, & a phrase from Nicholas of Cusa : "Thus time, since it is the measure of motion, is an instrument of the measuring soul." & I was thinking about how this related to 1) Aristotle's approach to knowledge, his affirmation of the absolute, the primordial integrity (in an epistemological sense) of the reality of individual, distinct, unique living things... empiricism, I guess, of a sort... (I really don't know much about philosophy - dropped out of the one ph. course I signed up for in college). & I related this sense of the soul also to 2) the Judaeo-Christian background, which is somewhat opposed to Plato's otherworldly idealism, since both Judaism & Christianity are all about hard & incontrovertible historical actuality (no matter how spun & mythologized) - about chosenness, redemption, Messianism, and Incarnation... about the History of This World, its fabric - the Greek "appearances" (which Aristotle wished to "save")... (ie., "Before Abraham was, I Am." That's a very soulful comment. It means, to me, that something in us exists before time & history.)
Anyway, I was very vaguely pondering all this stuff, in the context of some personal issues & themes & imagery in my poem - the question of time & memory & loss & recovery, of the things we love & don't love enough... wondering about the idea that "grace" or forgiveness allows one to re-enter the texture of one's own past, & love it & understand it in a new way... "Proustian" in a sense, I guess, or Nabokovian...
So, I was vaguely chewing over these things, walking along a side street on the East Side... when suddenly I noticed, down on the sidewalk... a wristwatch. In fact, it looked like a brand new wristwatch. In fact, it was the same inexpensive Timex "woodsman" wristwatch (sort of an outdoorsy, Boy Scoutish watch) which I had owned all through the 80s & 90s, & then lost or broken or worn out somehow, & replaced with a watch I have never really liked that much. I hesitated... but no one was around, no one seemed to be looking for it. "Finder's keepers," as we used to say back in Hopkins. Right there on the sidewalk, I took off my old watch and put on the new one.
It was a sort of epiphany, this afternoon - which belonged with the poem. I found my old Timex.