Sunday, December 18, 2016

Nothing that is not there...

The hips on this Rugosa rose at the fence line are most beautiful 
tipped with the recent snows.
Tonight the temperature here is supposed to go down to 5 degrees F.

The Snow Man was one of Pat Shelley's favorite poems. 
Pat was my poetry and librarian friend 
who died in late 1997. 
I'm still missing her and remembering things 
we talked about, 
and many things she said.


One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

Wallace Stevens

Stevens: Collected Poetry & Prose,
Library of America, 1997, page 8.

When Lee-Young Lee gave a poetry reading in San Jose 
many years ago, he was carrying only some papers 
and a well-worn copy of Wallace Stevens' poems. 
Since Lee's poems are so good, it's a good hint 
for what you might spend some time on.

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