It is a long time into the eloquence of stones. Ravens
carry their own death under their black wings.
Along the invisibility, the old forms begin to assemble.
The vain reflections claim they cannot live without mirrors.
Once, in the snow, the snow-ghost led us, followed us, teased us;
we played back for a while, then got lost within the white.
All night, the storyteller sat mute under a spotlight of intensity,
then got up, bowed, and walked off-stage—and was applauded.
3:45 says the clock. I praise this significance of numbers,
write it down to remember. 3:46 says the clock.
A TIDE OF GREAT INDIFFERENCE
After “Shore Birds” by Morris Graves
I stand melting on the slipping edge of a water map,
my feet held by grip of cold—by failure to run . . .
here is where the dream shifts : this landscape,
small birds pecking at the snow . . .
a white shape floats in the dark half of the dream—
makes one last effort and folds into the horizon . . .
the other side fades out into a dissolving memory—
a small dark speck falling into the last knowing of itself.
Yes, it is true. I am in the loss—spaced far between it; my
hands cannot find the edge. I housekeep, but the dust wins.
Balances surround me. I accept my gravity, fall through the
television where the silence is. I reward myself with candy,
stuffed in my starving mouth. I ignore the bottle—my last
strength, drown among cups of coffee and diet Pepsi. I cannot
mend the holes in my love, though I praise it with birds that
can sing. Ah, season, full of the right weather, fill me with maps.
Who is the one in white
standing against the snow,
diffusing against the window light
turning at last to go…?
Who is the one in red
leaning against the gate,
listening to what was never said,
not leaving, thought it’s late…?
Who is the one in black
making such a sound,
someone broken, howling back,
throwing herself around…
And now someone in gray
is standing still as stone.
I beg that one to go away
and leave my life alone….
(first pub. in The Lyric, 1998)
THE MUSE OF REVERIE
Russian Impressionism (works by twenty-two academy
trained master Russian Artists of the past and present)
She is the center—her own muse—
her hands on her lap, her face in a stare.
Memories rest in layers around her:
the closed distance of her mother,
the mute presence of her father;
the attentive white cat on the lap
of an ancestor—seven lives ago.
She feels herself merge,
tries to pull away,
but the past has got her:
the visions swirl:
the old house she lived in,
the murmuring linger of vanished voices,
the thick scent of flowers in heavy vases,
the road of tall trees down to the lake,
the old cabin on the eroding bank,
the drift of summers,
the place where it snowed—
the polished fruit on the polished table
back to the present room that fits around her.
THE HAUNTED WINTER
This is a white scene
for lovers only.
They can hide here
and stay forever.
They can name each other Snow
and never melt again
toward any reality.
hold each other
in the white darkness
which only happens
when their blinding eyes close
and they themselves become
this glittering landscape.
the blue song
hanging in the wind.
had brought us here
to live among
We took the place
We broke our melodies
and lost them
in the snow.
we were silent,
waiting for sad eyes
to let us go.
(first pub. in Manifold, England, 1967)
Around the edge of the old
world, the last of the day, cold
fragments of shadow thinning,
curve of night beginning,
the old prayer returning to murmuring lips,
or some old blasphemy, the same old quips,
said to disarm you—make you his.
Nothing was as nothing is.
And you know how the rest of that goes:
the slow trek back, the blinding snows,
the silence that comes down upon the rendings
of story tellers who make up their own endings.
And you always asking me why I rhyme . . . ?
Because it is there—an old mountain to climb.
THE THOUGHT OF SNOW
After “March Snow” by Wendell Berry
For you, Mother,
this thought of snow—
snow in your honor, imprinted
with joyous boot steps,
danced in the bluish white
under the streetlight—only
it was a later and an earlier time,
merged into now—
part yours, part mine,
stomping together in the
early snow, under your window,
where you watched,
and it was with my daughter
that I was snow-dancing.
snow under moonlight,
blue as ache
blue as longing
blue as cold fire
becoming slow translucence,
becoming blue sheen of silence
Many thanks to Joyce Odam for today’s fine poems and pix; her poems are about snow, and her artwork is about roses, since our Seed of the Week was Roses in the Snow. Our new SOW is When Cats Disappear—they do, of course, fading through walls and into the night and otherwise demonstrating their Mr. Mistoffeleesian roots. Send your poems, photos and artwork on this (or any other subject!) to firstname.lastname@example.org/. No deadline on SOWs.
To hear T.S. Eliot read his “The Naming of Cats”, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXkLgtusza4/.