Thursday, January 4, 2018

Window Woodhawk


No Possum, No Sop, No Taters

He is not here, the old sun,
As absent as if we were asleep.

The field is frozen. The leaves are dry.
Bad is final in this light.

In this bleak air the broken stalks
Have arms without hands. They have trunks

Without legs or, for that, without heads.
They have heads in which a captive cry

Is merely the moving of a tongue.
Snow sparkles like eyesight falling to earth,

Like seeing fallen brightly away.
The leaves hop, scraping on the ground.

It is deep January. The sky is hard.
The stalks are firmly rooted in ice.

It is in this solitude, a syllable,
Out of these gawky flitterings,

Intones its single emptiness,
The savagest hollow of winter sound.

It is here, in this bad, that we reach
The last purity of the knowledge of good.

The crow looks rusty as he rises up.
Bright is the malice in his eye . . .

He joins him there for company,
But at a distance, in another tree.

         ~~ Wallace Stevens 

What struck me about this Wallace Stevens poem is the way certain words leap out as
metaphors for the new now, in this age of excessive lack, "here, in this bad" , where an emperor's utterings erupt as hollow savageness inspiring horror, or "gawky flitterings" intoning emptiness. 

Like silent sentinels we watch, and wait, for the light to shine again.