PUSHING SNOW PRAYER
A man moving, and a man on a bench.
Skis parked outside. A couple drinking beer
below the loft. Wind outside whipping snow.
Don't ask us, he says, those who seek
shadow and cover-up in snow beauty.
Don't ask us for formulas.
Montale so bright shining from blond
varnished pine table at High Camp,
snow drifts on double Dutch gable
in the window sill. The two of us here,
And what about your
friend? the voice
inside the double glass asks, the one
who gave you the Montale?
The three of us, then. More than three, really.
Jody in every snow storm. Poems warming me
through storm-glass, the pine bench table
where I come on skis, midweek, for this white-out.
Moving on skis, and carried, up Great White
standing before the Goat Rocks on skis,
following signs to Paradise and the Coulour,
open trail through big firs, Hogback stellar,
and then down and around fast on the new skis.
They do fly, you have wings, my son said
taking me to this place. That first, once, flying,
knee-deep through light powder, lifting off a mogul
and bounced into cloud silk, over the creek
and buried, off-piste in old woods. My whistle
calling for evacuation, before one arrives
cobbling poles together to pull me out
before collapsing ridge-line drifts.
What comes for me now, approaching matter-less,
wormwood or honey, an almost-able greeting
gratefulness, what does, does not, give life
sorted on its own, the light test.
Woods and light in this place.
Mountain greeting call, what the city doubts
not mine, in and out of ancestral voices.
Temper flakes, a bottomless quiver
gone one song down, screen quiet.
Snow caves shipped into crevasses,
fir face, wind-braised, between and between,
ephemeral and ineffable.
My venture bears witness.
Somewhere Rexroth skis in the Sierras
at dusk, crossing through alone in deep moonlight quiet,
he records this ski talk,
Shh, Shh, Shh, over dry
floating light, asking him to be quieter,
and quieter still, listening for all of just this.
I looked for his poem all last winter.
All of this winter dark.
Snowing hard in trees,
beyond and through the end of snow,
dropping into joy,
the drought, too, with me descending,
a solitary day, the rare commonplace,
a family of trees in wilderness,
a darker and wilder side of the self
home of the ancestors,
these knowing old ones,
Just like a poem to show itself, like this snow.
31 January--3 February 2018