My old teacher, wondering about Keats,
asks for a hint. He's re-calling Spots of Time
for his daughter. I write from High Camp,
6000 feet in the Cascades, empty midweek,
except for Ski Patrol, kitchen workers.
Keats walks through Scotland, dreaming,
sleeping on benches with dirty blankets,
a sore throat, becoming immortal
in his 1000 days--Shelley's Adonais
raising him, Beautiful
shines on my notebook, each mountain
a star for mortals--where Keats says,
I live in the eye.
Book before me
at lunch: Czeslaw Milosz's Witness of Poetry:
what is present but veiled,
pulled from my shelf carried in backpack,
surprise choice chancing rebuke,
perhaps inspiration, on a cloudless day
after 5-day winter storm. Milosz
remembers Jan Kochinowski,
Poland's first great poet, complaining
for Cassandra, Why this torture--
Who when thou lent'st
me power of prophecy,
Gav'st to my words no
friend, Lars, feeds chickens
with world's left-over food!
Snow beauty covers Cassandra
with 500-year old verse--wounds
reaching back to Kochinowski,
forward to food-drunk and sated people
dumpster-stuffing what they can't consume.
Back on skis after soup, I turn
and duck under the boundary rope
into the wild--looking, not into mountains
offering glory, but to sublime
pristine cover of snow silence.
Skis maintain me where I could not
but sink. The old professor cautions,
too, out of bounds with the immortals.
8 February 2019