Sunday, January 05, 2014


afraid, yes, but among you again
crying yes risk joy

in the raw wind of the new world.

-- Louise Glück

Frost: cold blue sky. But balmy by comparison with the cold sucking the heart out of the rest of the country. Here on the fringe, everything passes us by -- we still remember the Columbus Day storm of 1962, which was a Pacific typhoon that got hopelessly lost and wandered up here by mistake. It didn't even qualify as a hurricane, but it's the only weather event we ever got, so we treasure it. I remember it, or at least I remember remembering it, unless I only remember remembering being told about it. It blew down the big old cottonwood in our back yard. Earlier, we had delighted in leaning on the wind -- it would hold you up! -- until Dad made us go indoors. This strikes me now as an improbable memory. Would my Dad have been so incautious as to let us out in the first place? But there it is.

I am prepared now to force
clarity upon you.

Are you, dear? Could anyone do such a thing? I doubt it. But edges do reach down from the sky: invisible razor blades. We had just arrived at the beach, and my small son was unwontedly quiet as we unpacked. Turned out he had found my razor, and was trying to shave with it: bloody criss-crosses on his chin and cheek. They cut, but they're so sharp you don't know it.

The mountain is brilliant in her fresh snow, every line of her a slash on the sky. I am uneasy. The timing is wrong; the rhythm is off, and everything is wound a little too tight. As I sat in meditation this morning thoughts clawed at me like a frightened cat. I'm pretty sure I have learned nothing.


NT said...

If you have learned nothing, I forgotten things I never knew.

Own your wisdom, Dale. Somebody ought to.


Dale said...


Zhoen said...

Perhaps you have unlearned something, which is just as vital.

marly youmans said...

Haven't been here in too long... And here you are, as before. Now reading "Vita Nova," I guess?

I remember being picked up by the wind and hurled during my three childhood years in Kansas. And forcing through the brunt of gusts as I passed the big old white house on the way home, gigantic cats in every window. Tornado on the way...

Clarity. I doubt it also. The history of the world tells us that clarity cannot be forced on anyone, doesn't it?

Often I have that feeling as well--the immensity of things, there to know, like a mountain. And my little heap of knowledge and wisdom, so small... "These fragments I have shored against my ruin."

rbarenblat said...

>> As I sat in meditation this morning thoughts clawed at me like a frightened cat.

Oh, how well I know that feeling.

Seon Joon said...

Oh Dale, thank you for bringing me back to this poem! I was eyeing "The Wild Iris" on my shelf and thinking to re-read it, but…

Hugs, from across the continent…