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Waking in the Snow


The birds hunch on the frozen seeds.
The cats gaze through the frosting glass.
The steady sift of silence strums,
“All things but I shall pass,
And be resolved into the wind,
And be recast as fire,
And leave no more than gems of ice,
In the dust of heart’s desire.”

Old masters of this painted place
Sketched lines within this frame,
Ground colors in the hollowed stones
Of skulls, and saw that fame,
Like breath, was only smoke
That rises from such speech;
That snow on steel breeds only rust,
And from our lives will leach

Such moments when our flesh, infirm,
Sees all incarnate time as joy,
As lessons our bright bodies learn,
And –learned– such learning then employ,
To start the seed that forms the shell,
That the egg reveals bright wings
Which rising from where once we fell
Will paint such snow with Spring.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Tom Hyland January 15, 2022, 8:03 PM

    I have had the great pleasure to sit in front of this Monet painting. It’s in the Musée d’Orsay titled “the Magpie” and what is especially relevant to me is it authentically depicts what could be an abobe home in northern New Mexico on a winter day. We’ve got magpies here, too.

  • Tom Hyland January 15, 2022, 8:51 PM

    Did you write this poem, Gerard? It’s mighty fine.

    • Vanderleun January 16, 2022, 6:54 AM

      Yes.

  • gwbnyc January 15, 2022, 9:49 PM

    A sterling poem.
    A painting that wants close inspection.
    Corvids, favorites of mine.

    …and snow, and this time of winter- a fellow home on leave, a son of a family my family was well acquainted with, another I knew only on sight. In different years the first froze to death perhaps twenty feet from his parent’s doorstep, found in the morning by his father, the second in the same hour and attitude noticed by a passerby. Both scenes along the same main road, a half mile apart, a year apart.

    “I am the snow.
    Let me work.”

  • Princess Cutekitten January 15, 2022, 11:33 PM

    Hello Gerard! I like the poem. Who wrote a?

  • Giles Overreach January 15, 2022, 11:59 PM

    “And leave no more than gems of ice,
    In the dust of heart’s desire.”

    Whether you wrote this poem or not …this line is perfect. Thank you again!

  • bob sykes January 16, 2022, 5:16 AM

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art (?) reproduces “The Magpie” as Christmas cards. I’ve used them a few times.

    And a very nice poem to boot!

  • jd January 16, 2022, 5:16 AM

    Another beauty. Thank you.

  • jd January 16, 2022, 5:22 AM

    Meant to ask where the quote inside the poem came from. This poem should
    be an official New Year poem seen by many more. I think we can all relate.

    • Vanderleun January 16, 2022, 6:55 AM

      I made it up to say what the silence says.

      • PA Cat January 16, 2022, 7:12 AM

        I’m glad you included Olive and her tribe in the second line. My kitties also like to perch on the window seat in the living room on a winter’s day and watch the snow (or the cold wet glop called “wintry mix” by the weather people around here) come down outside. Winter storm Izzy is due to arrive here some time tonight, and my prediction is for two cats racing to land on top of the comforter when I go to bed.

        I can’t resist adding Ezra Pound’s counterpoint to your poem: of course you know “Ancient Music”–

        Winter is icumen in,
        Lhude sing Goddamm,
        Raineth drop and staineth slop,
        And how the wind doth ramm!
        Sing: Goddamm.
        Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
        An ague hath my ham.
        Freezeth river, turneth liver,
        Damm you; Sing: Goddamm.
        Goddamm, Goddamm, ’tis why I am, Goddamm,
        So ‘gainst the winter’s balm.
        Sing goddamm, damm, sing goddamm,
        Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.

  • Hoss January 16, 2022, 8:42 AM

    Once again, thank you Gerard. I have always admired the talent of people like yourself who can write in such a way to draw out different types of emotions.

  • Tom Hyland January 16, 2022, 8:48 AM

    I posted this link below within the “big tech” thread but I think it’s worthwhile to read here, too. It’s Vox Day congratulating the visionaries who create their own art, their own reality, who know their rewards are unattainable by the mass of employed techies whose products are cold and soulless.
    https://voxday.net/2020/10/18/the-journey-sans-ticket/

  • James ONeil January 16, 2022, 9:41 AM

    Good on yer, Gerard!

    42 inches snow on the ground here.

    Scooped, plowed, six tons, roof dump, of it from a front my garage door last week. 2 days ago finished busting clear my jeep wide quarter mile trail to my river shop. Here, atop the world, any snow on the ground in late October is still there well into April.

    Complaining? Heck no! A parchment of temporary tales; print of each feather of the owls wings were she swooped away the vole. Record of the foxes daily rounds one foot in front of the other. Broad lynx pad prints, surprisingly light atop the crust. Moose tracks looking like ski tracks as the hoofs sink deep and the legs drag parallel lines across the top. Squirrels, rabbits, wolves, ravens, everybody adds a line to the story.

    A yardstick to measure one’s abilities, strengths, steadfastness against and nourishment stored to nurture our halcyon spring.