Nearly 17 inches of snow fell yesterday in a much maligned spring snowstorm. Every now and again I peered out the window to check the landscape, but the shades stayed down all day–my mind has been on daffodils and green and I just couldn’t bear to have a constant view of the heavy white stuff as I sat at my desk and wrote; soothed by a never-ending mug of coffee and tea, and a tin of mini candy bars.
As I continue to think about what I want this site to encompass I thought I’d begin with sharing two poems by a favorite poet, and some photos that I took over a two-year period. Pairing photos and words is something I’ve always done, whether its my work or that of someone else. Early on as I studied creative process I came to understand that in order to fully express myself I needed to make use of images and words–the creation of each drawing on a different side of the brain. Both poems are by Alice Fogel, the current State of New Hampshire poet laureate.
Still I am not sure which is most vivid—
the love now risen from its previous absence,
or the future loss it rides like a shadow,
the eye’s after-image of a bright light gone.
In any case, with its harrowing blades,
this fertile line of love already
draws through me a beautiful symmetry:
the invisible, downward reaching of dark and buried roots,
and the opening, airing branches that they mimic.
Always, love is something coming to an end,
something that could die before its time
and so you live in it, a world, a frame,
the borders that define. You memorize it,
day by day, like the lines of the earth’s face
mapped and changing, mapped again and again
changing, over centuries, the impossible
becoming true before you. And like that,
you look for the shapes of things now being
that once were not: no matter
how you hold a day, it sets into the year,
buried, lost. In memory its sheen
is another branch. We see that coming.
It is precisely that passage, that change, that tunneling
through the soil of time—that dread—
that makes love what it is: so rich, so far
beside itself with beauty, beholden to it,
because it can never be held.
It’s just that love is the highest point, the lightening rod
that draws to it the crooked path of sorrow
which it waits for, depends upon, uses in advance,
not the way that we use air—of necessity, for life—
but, instead, the way that birds use air:
for balance, unbalancing, uplift.
Listen, even the earth says it wants to rearrange, empty
its lungs and fill the sky
With relic, fossil, bone. The earthquake, the volcano,
have their roots at the stillest center too, and bloom
at last as if a lifetime later.
And still you call a rock a rock
and mean unchanged,
when it is the stone that lingers for nearly eternity
before it crystallizes, all the while so carefully
embroidering the rare and breathtaking
minerals into porphyry, looming on for eons.
Whatever is the matter, it is the world’s
own blood flowing, purled, that finally pulls upward toward
the surface, which splits, singing, from within:
open, molten, then solidified again. You know the way.
After any inspiration, what gets taken in waits,
then breaks outward, awakening into the shock
of resurfacing, the home it had forgotten, the fresh
and stinging air. Something new replaces the displaced.
That’s how stones live their woven lives.
So, in time, any time now, the whole of it will explode.
Solid air, surprised, will welcome and make room
for what it had once let go, the way the sky
accepts the offered blossom
of a whale’s sudden breath now exhaled.