Monday, February 6, 2017

A poem for a snowy day

This poem is part of the series An American Four Seasons that I wrote for Seattle Symphony's project, All Of Us Belong. The poem is inspired by Charles Ive's A New England Holiday symphony and it is a response to the first movement, Washington's Birthday.

Washington’s Winter

Winter’s taciturn realm asks nothing.
Crowned in hushed browns and somber greens,
it rules by turns with quiet song
then with pummeling winds obeying no one.
It will be dark soon everyday for months
Color hibernates, leaving behind
its essence to purr
in everything oblique light touches.
In the hush, it asks us to see, and see again,
to hear the echo of step
over moss covered ground,
to peek into ourselves
and consider roads not taken
and those taken and why.
Winter’s austere architecture
reveals in trees their armature
and in us a chance to behold
the dried reeds edging our heart.
A man named Washington
set for posterity an example
by willingly electing
a shade of retirement
over political might.
Winter winds do whip
the pubic madness of frozen filigree twigs,
but come summer each branch
will blush in apple glow.
Nothing is so simple as it first appears.
One minute violin strings coax
memories from their tenderest dens
and in the next, pluck
raucous joy at a winter’s barn dance.
What shows on the surface fallow,
conceals a gathering of creative force.
Slow cadence of winter days,
a tune by and by, to awaken.

Robert Frost – The Road Not Taken
George Washington – “shade of retirement” from Washington’s Farewell Address To the people of the United States
Overheard at Dorothy Day House -It will be dark soon everyday for months
Charles Ives – “winter’s barn dance” from Score notes

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