Sunday, March 27, 2011

307. The Scent of Spring

Spring won’t come with cold aching
through the woods, bones in brittle cold
even in a light that takes on the sense that morning
breaks across a face in slats and warm.

Would that the world were real,
and made of hemlocks and deep brown shadows
only darker in summer and that the lakes
laid out in arcs and lines would lie
flat and still and hold their cold until just before
the tiny summer afforded us would end,
that there might be birds threading through the trees,
light wispy clouds against a blue and perpendicular sky, that
woodpeckers might move, jerky,
mechanical, unreal (but real) against the upright trunk
of a tree outside the window, that winter
would be cold and seemingly endless.

We wish, because we wish
far beyond the hope for gift,
that the world were real,
not metaphoric or orphic,
not a thing that points and
says, but a thing itself,
cold when we want warmth,
something solid but pliable,
made out of more pieces
than we could hold together
in a head, a place we could
intersect with and inhabit.

If we could, we would come out of a long and frozen winter,
kept white by snow that could melt only after winter was done,
and then slowly, or not at all, because the cold would
hold on, hard and fast, as if it were holding onto the illusion of life,
and into the spring that had become nothing more than
the flattened brown of grass and dirt revealed again to us.

If we could come out of such
a winter and into wintry spring,
if we could emerge, logy and
stunned by sunlight, from a
white and bitter winter and dark
because of it, if we could reach
a spring warm enough for a
trickling snow, maybe we could
sing a paean to this world we
cannot accept rests beside us.

It seems that everything
is intact and seamless, that
winter doesn’t ever end,
that the Hudson dribbles
from the woods north of us
and eventually becomes
the Atlantic, yet we know
it is not. The crush of truck
into car, the slipping of boat
off its moorings, the earth
shaking the collected pieces
of a life off shelves, a hunk of
bread pulled from a loaf
and left, hardened, on a table,
the way light saturates a glass
of pinot noir, the way even
the color of a wine can hold us
still long enough to pause.

The color of the wine
through the eyes

The scent of the wine
through the nostrils

The taste of the wine
through the tongue

The heft of the wine
through our hands

But wine is silent

and we hear the world
so clearly around us
and so clearly not.

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