Saturday, February 03, 2007

A Blizzard and a Poem

We're in the midst of a blizzard that should go several days. This is our winter story--extremely cold air from Canada comes down across the Great Plains and crosses the warmer waters of Lake Michigan. Molecules of water steam off the lake in vast clouds, and fall across the western counties as "lake effect" snow. When the snow squalls combine with howling winds and bitter temperatures, the far side of the road disappears, neighbors don't come out to check the mail, and dogs never stray far into the woods.

I made my travel arrangements for the AWP Conference in Atlanta and found an inexpensive place to stay not that far from the Hilton. Apparently, it's too late to register by mail for the Conference itself, so I'll do that after I arrive. If you are going, I look forward to seeing you.

Despite the weather, I have a busy weekend; papers to grade for Monday's class and a poem to work on. I'll leave you with this from my second book, A Path Between Houses (University of Wisconsin Press, 2000). In its little plea for a February thaw, the poem seems timely.


AGE OF CONSENT

To the chair near the linden tree
where my daughter once wept
and could not be consoled.
To the black-and-white cat,
carrying a sparrow into the garage.
To a February thaw
and to every small act of mercy.
To the light that floods the anchor of the bridge.
To the walnut trees aligned in a dolorous row
and the man who tried to make order of this.
To middle age and the condition of my heart.
To the Tibetan prayer for the dead
and the Episcopalian service
for those lost at sea.
To the split oak stacked
against the ramshackle house
and the fires that will carry me
through another winter.
To the whiskey I am allowed in dreams.
To the fiction of my life
and whatever truth I've made of it.
To what the hand finds
when laid against the wall, in the very place
where the bees have made their hive--
some great buzzing heart,
alive again beneath the lath.

5 Comments:

Blogger Suzanne said...

Gorgeous!

6:50 AM  
Blogger Sam of the ten thousand things said...

This is a wonderful piece. When I read "to every small act of mercy," I so want to take up my own pen. My favorite lines:

"To the whiskey I am allowed in dreams.
To the fiction of my life
and whatever truth I've made of it.
To what the hand finds
when laid against the wall, in the very place
where the bees have made their hive--"

Those lines have their own magic. Thanks for posting this.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Radish King said...

Oh this is lovely, it made my scalp prickle.

12:30 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

The poem is definitely apropos with respect to the weather we've been having in Montreal today -35 celsius (with a windchill factor). Great poem - highly enjoyable weather notwithstanding!

3:43 PM  
Blogger greg rappleye said...

Thank you all for your kind comments about the poem. And no, the weather here is NOT much improved.

9:32 AM  

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