Monday, April 8, 2013

Fire and ice

photo of Spring sunset
© harrington
Welcome. Thanks for dropping in. The photo above was taken close to the first day of Spring in Minnesota. It's also, in my opinion, stunningly beautiful. In Minnesota, Spring frequently entails snow cover remaining, snow storms persisting, and Minnesotans wondering if Winter will let go before the first day of Summer. All of which is a round-a-bout way of introducing you to today's National Poetry Month book, The First Day of Spring in Northern Minnesota, poems by Jim Johnson. Because we still have ice out to look forward to, I want to share the beginning of Jim's poem
The Return of the Shaman, Later the Weather Report
April is the ice that leaves the edge of the lake,
then comes back again,
leaving and coming, leaving and coming
in with the wind, and
back out again. The same lake that shows at the edge
leaves the honeycombed ice
black, then
returns, returns only to leave
again, this time leaving the white
behind. It is always changing,
taking many forms never the same....
The "always changing" is evocative, I think, of Coyote. The language clearly reflects an awareness of the ice out process (grounded in place and nature literate). Why don't you consider the other points proposed by Snyder then find Jim's book and buy it so you can read the rest of this poem and all of the next one I hope to tempt you with.
The First Day of Spring in Northern Minnesota
I awoke to the cold I did not want to awaken to.
The woodstove opened like a book,
a black book
I would not have otherwise opened. I crumpled
yesterday's news. The dog sniffed it.
I laid birch sticks
crossways. Thought if our current gods
don't visit soon
they too will be reduced to heroes and our heroes
forgotten--then what? I lit a match. And waited...
Are you saying to yourself "what's lighting a fire in a woodstove got to do with nature?" The answer, we all know if we stop to think about it, has to do with whether we see humans as part of nature or apart from nature. Check out some more Jim Johnson poems. Think about it. Are we in or out of nature? Thanks for listening. come again soon. Rants, raves and reflections served here daily.