Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Winter's Ice

I find humor and pathos very close together sometimes. This picture of a shore bird (probably photoshopped?) is so evocative that I laughed outright for a long time the first time I saw it. It seems to depict an oil spill issue. The pathos in this humor is of course that this bird (if the photo is real) will probably die. The caption is perfect. "Fuck it. I'm going home." Perfect.

And as in the poem below, this bird is overloaded with weight. Next, here's Saul Bellow:

"And now here's the thing. It takes a time like this for you to find out how sore your heart has been, and, moreover, all the while you thought you were going around idle terribly hard work was taking place. Hard, hard work, excavation and digging, mining, moiling through tunnels, heaving, pushing, moving rock, working, working, working, working, panting, hauling, hoisting. And none of this work is seen from the outside. It's internally done. It happens because you are powerless and unable to get anywhere, to obtain justice or have requital, and therefore in yourself you labor, you wage and combat, settle scores, remember insults, fight, reply, deny, blab, denounce, triumph, outwit, overcome, vindicate, cry, persist, absolve, die and rise again. All by yourself? Where is everybody? Inside your breast and skin, the entire cast."
- Saul Bellow

In that passage, Saul Bellow illustrates how the shadow works, how perhaps even destiny sometimes works. He points out that weighty things go on beneath notice for a while before surfacing. Often then I will carry weight in confusion, not understanding, even misunderstanding where the weight comes from. It is likely that when I wake up at 3 AM to the buzzards who surround my bed eyeing me hungrily and whispering their dark messages, that these dark moments are authored in the shadowy work going on within me. It will be better for everyone when the work manifests in the light and I then can deal with it honestly if I have the courage. There is always that. I am bent and fear a broken back.

Winter's Ice

These days I notice
certain evergreens have changed
because winter's ice
weighed them down. No one
has figured out how to put
them back in their place.
They bow as if God
was near blessing them,
as if they needed such boon.
I feel the weight too.

June 29, 2009 10:47 AM


  1. pathos and humour indeed; this was a wonderful experience all around.

    been reading lots and commenting not so lots..... but, always appreciating lots! this was a sweet post.

  2. Harlequin!!

    How nice to have your comment here.

    Thank you so much :D

  3. And yet, even under their weight they are so beautiful, metaphor and simple physical beauty. Holy holy life is hard and yet there are moments of infinite lightness.

    I was walking through the woods the other night to defy the bears and two people who walked on level ground with made in China walking sticks with rubber bumpers on them. Wtf? I was dared to go deeper and so deeper I went with the fading sun. Oh my god, I looked across a river and a copse of pine was lit as though it was the fucken answer to the universe and I was held in wonder. And then I shifted my gaze beside me and there was a deciduous tree with a section of moss on it just off to my right! I'd never have noticed it but the light broke through the trees on an angle and lit the tree just in this section with significance (meanwhile the copse of pines was quietly saying, me, me, i am the answer.) It was like stage lighting. I said aloud, Whoa! It is all the answer. Every last bit of it. Us included.

    What does any of that mean? Who knows. But why is it that our gears are wound that bit to click to ask? And so we do. And when we are lucky we get answers, as fleeting as they are, we feel the wound loosen.

    I do not have the language to understand even the questions, and yet the humming of the answer is all around me. It is to leave behind the work of the mundane and get to the inner work, that the humming becomes more discernable. And so I struggle, sometimes rest.


  4. How kind of you to leave words like this on my blog. You tell me stories of a magical momoent, tell me of your striving to understand. I am just inconceivably honored to receive you here. Thank you dear.

    I don't actually have a reply. This needs no reply. Your story stands on its own this morning.

  5. "Inside your breast and skin, the entire cast."

    Frankly Scarlet...I really do give a damn. I am thrilled to have this passage brought to my attention. I feel as if I have been grabbed around the waist by strong arms, lifted, as I look down from more inches than I would otherwise posess. Look down at my dangling feet and know that they will again land. With certainty I feel this. I will be put back in place, and the place will feel like home and yet I have been moved. This post makes me feel as if I can watch my levitation, let the cast dangle as they must, outside my body, as if I have always had the courage for it, and perhaps I have.

  6. I seem to have struck a chord or rather a chord has been struck beyond my doing. I was simply crafting what felt right to put together, following the movements in the bush. Amazing how this works. At one time I laughed nearly hysterically in recognition of the dying bird. At one point I wrote a poem honoring real bushes that really did end bent over by ice, thinking how they might have been put in that position so they could pray about it. Just yesterday I found the Bellow quote and it seemed to fit so well. It was at this point that I saw the bird picture and went, "Holy Shit"!

    I confess I was a little worried that the photo was too crude a sentiment. (I really didn't intend the pun just now:D )

    I did my best to stitch the three pieces together yesterday. Apparently I have. I am sure I don't know what I have done nor how.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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