October 03, 2008
Poetry Friday: Breathing Through Change
It's as if someone flipped a switch: autumn. Leaves are suddenly transfixed in livid red, and if we haven't had frost by the end of the next week, it'll only be that the mercurial northern winds turn to come suddenly from the East. If not, it will freeze by tonight. Running errands this morning was brutal; the temperature is 43° and windy.
At times, the weather seems to reflect our state of mind. Knife-edged breezes spin leaves along the sidewalk, and push us into traffic. We hunch into our coats and wonder vaguely if the malevolence is imagined or real. It feels like we're at the cusp of doom. In so many areas of our lives, so much feels to be at stake, and the approaching clouds seem to signify that we are in for hard times.
We teeter on a precipice, balanced precariously in a season of change. So much is at stake it seems, that we can only grit our teeth and hold on, until the season passes.
But pass it will.
It always does.
by Mary Oliver
Close to the edge. Almost
bunch up and boil down
from the north of the white bear.
This tree-splitting morning
I dream of his fat tracks,
the lifesaving suet.
I think of summer with its luminous fruit,
blossoms rounding to berries, leaves,
handsful of grain.
Maybe what cold is, is the time
we measure the love we have always had, secretly
for our own bones, the hard knife-edged love
for the warm river of the I, beyond all else; maybe
(read the rest of the poem here.)
I love the phrase "the warm river of the I." The poet captures how easy it is to be in love with ourselves and only ourselves, to solely cherish our cold singular souls in a time when everyone is freezing, everyone is broke, everyone is worried, everyone is scared. But even in this season that feels so chancy and perilous and fraught and lonely, may we hold onto the sliver of light that connects us. If we support each other up through the bitter season, we can all make it through.
Yes, we can.
Poetry Friday today is held at the blog of Two Writing Teachers.