Working the Snow


The need to be taken, to feel the flood, the life-pull.
Maybe this is why we get born:
to get seized, and have to firm up;
to squeeze and drag ourselves out.
To push into form, and be moved beyond it.
          It’s not neat.

          And it’s not just about knowing;
but to be remembered by earth, so it will birth us, gladly –
to be played on a thought-line until it drops.
          Maybe this is why awakening means work:
to grab letting-go, and meet its blunt blade
as it prunes us back to the roots. Cold and clear.

          Like today, when it’s snow-work.
We get out there grumbling, beat hands and shovel;
carving a path from here to the next shelter,
a track through the white-out for our boot-dumb feet –
which the snowfall will serenely erase.
          And present its direction, its radiance ascending.

The earth clawing the white mask of silence
as in Noh drama: all soundless screams and gestures.
So the listening’s unsheathed.
          Then every tree, fence-post and print-pricking blackbird
stands in its statement.
          And my skin calls shivering back.

Now what’s felt is beauty; is how we're fashioned,
Hearts like buckets: to bear weight,
while this snow brings out our deep warmth.
          Maybe this day, like the rest, just falls,
stuns, and goes nowhere;
but in working its edge, my darkness melts down.

It pours like laughter through the noose of the stars,
in a wintering that glows jewel-red.


Posted: Wed 11 Dec, 2013