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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Poem: The intelligence of snow

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The intelligence of snow


To float
from the massive
cloud of unknowing

down
without hurry
or tension

into the amplitude open
above fields humped and blurry

and the gentle
geometry of roofs

falling
with no clear
apprehension

loose—adrift, or cast—
resting and feathering

across downy light,
or, becoming light
without edge

descending
and hovering
where buzzards meditate

a white spider
hanging and swinging
(without gossamer thread)

into the quietude
of outstretching spruces

tossed and bob-slipping
past treetops

beside
blue jays jerking
and nuthatches skipping

at last touching
into place
with soft pliancy

weightless wafer
on the bird feeder’s lip

onto one black seed
instantly scooped

The solitary
snow flake

dissolving
in the mitered beak
of the cardinal

in its ultimate
and particular
gesture of praise


December 2011
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31 comments:

"Auntie" sezzzzzz... said...

-happy sigh-

How lovely...

To be returned to and re-read, when tension slips into one's life...

Thank you...

erin said...

yes, a meditation.

the last stanza, i like to read it slowly aloud as though i have a mouth of marbles that i do not want to spill for they are the most important marbles in the world.

xo
erin

ksam said...

Ahhh! Perfectly lovely!

rosaria said...

Ahhhhhhh! The images lull me to sleep, softly, peacefully.

Cait O'Connor said...

I loved this, I fell with the snowflake. Lovely lovely poem.

Arti said...

Yes again, another gratifying tapestry of imagery and words. And as always, your ending is both surprising and wise. (Surprising because like that light snowflake, you don't know where it'll ultimately land). Have a Happy New Year, Ruth, you and yours! And may 2012 be a rewarding year for you in poetry and publishing!

Herringbone said...

It was freeing. It was ok to be peaceful.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks, Ruth, for the subtle 'intelligence' of this poem, and its 'gesture of praise'. You can really feel the unconscious ('with no clear / apprehension') freefalling descent of the snowflake. Marvellous, really, how the individual and particular differentiates itself from that 'massive / cloud of unknowing' — revealing the unique signature of the Platonic essence. Miraculous how each snowflake, each spider's web, each human being is uniquely different! Beautifully written, beautifully wrought — thanks again.

Vagabonde said...

What with going on trips and being sick I have missed the whole month of December where you wrote 13 posts. But I read them all. I decided that I am going to read all my blogging friends posts before I write a new post myself – don’t know how long it will take.

I loved your snow on Dec, 1st – such beauty! Your photos are so lovely – and going RAW – wow – that seems so hard to me. You are multi-talented – a slide show with background music… I’ll have to learn this someday too. Your pictures are so well chosen for the music, from a lovely lady cardinal to a stark tree in the snow – I think after enjoying your series I’d rather have winter in Michigan than in Venice.

I did not know George Whitman had passed away – I was not in the US then and missed the sad news. I went into or just passed by Shakespeare and company so many times – bought several books there too. It seems every time I go to Paris I end up on the Boul Mich and see this shop. He was quite a gentleman – I enjoyed your post a lot.

Your slide show for Christmas was so serene and happy – after having returned from warm climates I feel that Christmas is so much more intense surrounded by snow. Then finishing reading your post with this poem on snow is like a cherry on top of a succulent sundae – truly beautiful and bringing images dancing in front of our eyes.

Maureen said...

What a lovely concept, and a beautifully executed poem that conveys such serenity even amid "spruces / tossed and bob-slipping /past treetops". All the different birds add wonderful detail. I especially like "mitered beak / of the cardinal". And yes, what a "gesture of praise" rises before us.

Wishing you a marvelous new year, Ruth. Thank you for so many great posts in 2011.

missing moments said...

Your words showed me exactly what it would be like to be a snowflake. Enjoyed this past year with you and many wishes for a wonderful new year!

Ruth said...

Thank you, my friends, for floating down with me and the snowflake. I wonder at my propensity to allow tension into my body, and hold it like an old dear friend. It is taking constant mindfulness to change old habits and release it. Meditating on a snow flake's descent is really a good way for me to relax my body, mind and spirit. It really is "ok to be peaceful" as Herringbone said.

As we close out this year together, I am eager to see how you, my blog friends, reveal your own "unique signature" (to quote Robert) from the great mystery of our source. It is a privilege to witness each of you in the words and images you share, that show a glimpse into your beauty.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Brendan said...

Yes, perfectly balanced and woven, with all of that fullness beakering down to a single wafer placed on exactly the right lips ...'tis a godhood, the wonder of our nature, a peace to all. Fine, fine work. - Brendan

George said...

The madhouse of Christmas and visiting family has delayed my arrival, Ruth, but what I have found here vastly surpases anything I found under the tree. I would say that this is my favorite poem of yours, but I have probably said that before, and will probably say it again. Perhaps I should simply say that this poem is nothing less that the full measure of a well-lived, attentive life—floating from the cloud on unknowing, without hurry or tension, into the amplitude, with no clear apprehension, resting and feathering, softening and yielding at every stage before dissolving in an ultimate gesture of praise. Wow! These words and images fill me and empty me at the same time. Thank you for this wonderful grace note upon which to end the year.

Deslilas said...

Happy new year !
We had a non-white Xmas in Sweden. Anyway it was nice to be with our grand children who are really tall nowadays 8 and 10 years old.
We have to drive towards our French Alpes to see and touch white snow next week.

"Auntie" sezzzzzz... said...

Happy New Year to you, my new blogging Friend. So very glad I found your lovely blog, recently.

Thank you yes, my cold is gone. In hopes that your carpal tunnel issues, are totally cleared up, very soon.

Gentle hugs,
"Auntie"
"An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves." ~Bill Vaughn

Marcie said...

I don't think I'll ever think of snow in quite the same way ever again. That you've described - so beautifully -its 'intelligence'. Love it!! Wishing you a happy and creative new year...:-)!

Miss Jane said...

Beautiful reverie/observation, this. It most definitely needs to be read aloud as the words drop most deliciously down the page to such a delightful close.
I bumped a little when I hit this couplet:

into the quietude
above outstretching spruces

I think (although it changes the meaning) that "above" could be changed to "of" to keep the lilting rhythm.

Have a blessing full new year.

Anna said...

Ruth lovely as always. You got talent! Hope all is well with you. Sorry I missed many of your posts and Christmas. Wishing you all the best in the new year to come, love and peace to you and yours. Anna :)

Dutchbaby said...

How I loved fluttering down the page, following the snowflake into the mitered beak. The poem is visually beautiful too, with no two stanzas the same.

hedgewitch said...

A snowflake kaliedoscope here, of all the many forms of frozen white lace--it reminds of the old saw about Eskimos having hundreds of words for snow, something so monochromatic having so many shades of meaning. A happy winter of relaxing in the fallow time to you, Ruth, and a happy new year through all the days.

Ginnie said...

This is lovely, Ruth. Just exquisitely lovely!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, Sister.

Jeanie said...

What a beautiful gift you share with us, Ruth. This is simply beautiful.

Happy new year,my friend!

Barb said...

A journey made millions of times but imagined in such a unique way through your poetry. (I am wishing for many of those snowflakes myself - we are below snowpack here in the mountains of CO.)

ds said...

Oh, the connections you make, floating down with that snowflake--so beautiful, so wise. Happy New Year, o great friend. May 2012 be filled with the particular joys you so relish!

Stratoz said...

how dare you write so beautifully about snow. Happy New Year

Peter said...

Different from a year ago, the snow has been sufficiently intelligent not to fall on Paris - yet - this year! It would be tough with the present temperature of +11°C (=52°F)!

I wish you and your family all the best for 2012!

Shari Sunday said...

Beautiful, peaceful, soothing. My senses imagine the cold and white, pine-scented peace.

California Girl said...

Happy New Year Ruth. May you continue to write your beautiful poetry and enjoy good health and prosperity with your family. xo

Loring Wirbel said...

Ooooo, this is beautiful! And so great to see you and Don last Monday, and that Abby could come too. I could kick myself for not getting pictures.

Ruth said...

Thank you, dear friends! May our new year be full of floating joy and peace. May you enjoy your loved ones more than you ever have, and may they enjoy you! May your art, your photography, your writing be more clear and open, more you! Let us play, let us live.

I love you all!