Friday, October 30, 2009

"As freezing persons recollect the snow"

I thought about turning around to find you

there, in the corner of my room, before the

distant glass of the mirror, here through

winter, the drifts of your fingers across the

stipple of sweater (for what can it mean to

have without holding?), and shoulders sore from un-

burying snow -- it's still snowing -- and knowing

you (that you have

already gone):

in a dream.

And now: the next shadowless morning -- the

intimate drift of the skies, the invisible

pines --, I raise my palms to the farther

ground and warm, I am every direction a-

lone and fall -- we all do, with clank and

tackle of unaccustomed clothing and shoes -- to the

frozen much farther below. It's slow-going, this

shuffling through and

settling down. The

breath like steam, like the

smoke from coal wrapped

tightly in straw, ice shipped and sipped out of

sweltering tea: I am evaporation -- the

sweet and passing season of it all --, my

turn to turn from memory, "regardless

grown", a mind like winter wheat to

sleep under covers, turn to regretting

nothing (but you, may-

flowering dawn), and

go to seed. I

thought about never

turning around and rediscovering

you (like you knew, years ago, and

wrote without tears, your belle-(of Amherst)-

tristic posture, your "then the letting

go", and pleated skirts, so certain that

someday we'd forget the hurts and

get the pleasure of re-

membering each other "as

freezing persons recollect the snow").

(Edited 30 October 2009, begun 29 October 2009. From an early image of morning, lingering on a long walk up a new snow-covered mountain; and an old memory of Orpheus, whose Eurydice, however, linked with and led here to Dickinson and -- for my money, no matter the time of day -- to one of her great modern interpreters. The title appeared for me as the last line, but for its owner the first time properly in 1955, for the first time ever in 1890, for the very first time of all -- and all but invisibly to all but her -- sometime before 1866. I also love -- but it may change the feeling, like the slave at the ear of the triumphant emperor, whispering, "Remember, you are only a man" -- that in addition to cultivating poems and flowers she owned a Newfoundland named (after him in Jane Eyre) Carlo, and after he died, never another.)

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