After many walks in the snow the body learns a new rhythm. At least that’s what it’s felt like these past few weeks. I’ve got myself a mean snow trudge.
What I admire about John Ashbery is the way he can keep his line close to the shifts of not his mind but the mind of the poem. In the poem below, whose rhyming couplets have a music that sneaks up on you rather than chimes on in, I feel a recognition of what is termed “puzzling light.”
Not the kind of light that leaves you puzzled (past tense) but a sense of light as vision, where you look at something and keep seeing new things in it, puzzling out what there is.
Like steps in deep snow: each a different mark and feel.
Some Trees – John Ashbery
These are amazing: each
Joining a neighbor, as though speech
Were a still performance.
Arranging by chance
To meet as far this morning
From the world as agreeing
With it, you and I
Are suddenly what the trees try
To tell us we are:
That their merely being there
Means something; that soon
We may touch, love, explain.
And glad not to have invented
Such comeliness, we are surrounded:
A silence already filled with noises,
A canvas on which emerges
A chorus of smiles, a winter morning.
Placed in a puzzling light, and moving,
Our days put on such reticence
These accents seem their own defense.
p.s. I am happy to announce that I have 3 poems in the latest issue of the Inflectionist Review. Check them out here. Special thanks to John Sibley Williams and A. Molotkov for giving these poems a home.