Friday, January 8, 2010

Winter Poems

In yesterday's deepfreeze I posted Mary Oliver's "Cold Poem" over at Quid Nunc? my personal blog. Oliver seems to be able to find a way to celebrate almost anything in nature, to find the beauty in that which seems cruel, even devastating. All her poetry is nature poetry, but none of it is cuddly, fuzzy, or cute. She loves the "hard knife edges," the sharp talons, as much as she loves the bright berries, the sunlit waters. It might be hard to love the hard edges of things right now if you live in, say, North Dakota or Minnesota, even Ohio or Pennsylvania. Here in New Mexico we have the sun, almost all the time, which certainly helps with the bitter temperatures and biting wind. Yes, it's even cold here in the Land of Enchantment. And so I offer another cold poem, one which sort of ties back in to the posts on hunger and want in our land. Barbara Crooker is another of my favorite contemporary poets. I don't have the same deep love for her work that I have for Mary Oliver's; but she can reach into my soul and surprise me fairly frequently. She does it here.


It's February, and we're freezing, despite global
climate change,despite the melting ice caps.
It seems that winter comes later now,
that the seasons are askew. But here,
in the pages of my L. L. Bean Catalog,
a fire is blazing brightly, natural resin
fatwood sticks bringing it to life,
and a mallard blue hearth rug
protects my floors. Warmth is guaranteed,
no matter what the winter brings: a blizzard
of bad news from the television, the icy rain
of losses--age chipping away at the body,
a flurry of Christmas cards where sorrow
tipped the scale away from joy. The radio
hisses its static: another car bomb explodes
in Iraq like the rat-tat-tat of sleet;
predictable as a cold front marching
down from Canada. But in these glossy pages,
we are told that when you select your
outerwear, you should consider your personal
response to cold, your activity levels,
local weather conditions.
Locally, I'd say
the weather is conservative, with a touch
of paranoia. Our ears, whether covered
by a Mountain Guide Hat in Moss Khaki
or a Stone Blue Fleece Headband,
seem closed to the larger world, deaf
to the voices of want and need. We give
what we can, but not so much it hurts.
Somewhere in the city, a man sleeps
in a cardboard box. A woman and a child
huddle under a blanket on a subway grate.
We pass by quickly, wrapped in goose down
and Gore-Tex. The wind keeps
on blowing, as it always will.


Anonymous said...

'Locally, I'd say
the weather is conservative, with a touch
of paranoia.'

Right at this moment in the political cycle that sentence jumped out at me. Powerful.

As an aside, I have something to warm up your innards and it involves a slow cooker recipe for very healthy oatmeal at my blog.


marigolds2 said...

We eat oatmeal just about every morning in this household. I'll check out your recipe, and your blog later on today. Friends from out in the boonies are coming into town for medical appointments and we are waiting to hear from them for a lunch date, Thanks!

emmapeelDallas said...

I'm so glad you've joined us! I very much enjoy your posts.


marigolds2 said...

Thank you so much, Judi. I am having a wonderful time here. And I hope your flu has run its course and you are feeling much better.