Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Old snow, new snow

photo of chickadee in Spring rain
© harrington
Wet, gray, rainy day. Snow in the forecast. I'd be more upset but I saw this year's first red-wing blackbird and remember the year it snowed three inches into my boat at mid-May's walleye opener. Enough weather, let's look at poetry. I've written about Connie Wanek, poet from Duluth, in past postings. Today's extracts are from "On Speaking Terms," which is her third book of poetry. This one published by Copper Canyon Press. We're going to look first at part of
Dog Days
Call it selfishness. Call it self-preservation.
We need ignorance,
a day on the water without the chatter
that pours out of the television,
without the picture that requires a thousand words
to disarm. We need the pines
that have stood through two hundred winters,
and the insects that live only a few hours.

Surely the planet will mend behind us
as water heals behind the canoe.
Cruelties in the fossil record are cruelties no more.
It seems our wrongs spring from our right
to pursue our own happiness,
which is a red fox running before the dogs,
dying in their teeth....
There's an awareness here of the necessity of our connectedness to nature. A speaking to the idea that we don't always know or do what's in our own best interest, or at least, if we do, we don't behave that way enough. Have you ever been in a canoe? It's path over and through water is very different than a motor boat's. Water does indeed heal behind canoes, and sail boats. Happiness is hounded by its pursuit of itself? Now, to help us celebrate our persistently tardy Spring, let's take a look at a little of
Old Snow
Thaws have taken their toll,
and once rain fell across the white hills.
The snow is half ice now,
granulated and industrial, and the men
in the yard have lost their coal teeth
and are hollow-eyed and helpless.
They've been loyal to the picket line
all winter, watching scabs come and go,...
Nature literate and grounded in place? I think there's no doubt. Trickster? What else would you call toothless snow men? Crafty and getting work done? Both, captured in picket lines and scabs. Can you fill in the assessment of Snyder's other points? Will you look for Connie's work the next time you're at your local, independent book store? Thanks for listening. Come again. Rants, raves and reflections served here daily in My Minnesota.