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Let Us Praise the Early Falling Snow

Let Us Praise the Early Falling Snow

Let us praise the early falling snow, then. Let us praise the lucky occurrence of winter in summer. For it is still officially summer, but here in Edmonton, we’ve had a bit of foreshadowing. And it’s good. Not all that unusual here. It’s snowed four out of the last five Septembers, and the only month in Edmonton when it hasn’t snowed is July.

This type of weather is good for poets, too. When early snow falls, it’s time to praise. It’s time to sit and look out windows, and to look at our daily life.

from Mass for the Day of St. Thomas Didymus

by Denise Levertov

ii Gloria

Praise the wet snow
falling early.
Praise the shadow
my neighor's chimney casts on the tile roof
even this gray October day that should, they say,
have been golden.
Praise
the invisible sun burning beyond
the white cold sky, giving us
light and the chimney's shadow.
Praise
god or the gods, the unknown,
that which imagined us, which stays
our hand,
our murderous hand,
and gives us
still,
in the shadow of death,
our daily life,
and the dream still
of goodwill, of peace on earth.
Praise
flow and change, night and
the pulse of day.

tibetan bells in September snow
 
early snow

Perhaps it’s too early to think about winter being the best time, but I’m ready for the quiet of winter, the contemplation one finds there. I’m ready to slow things down.

Winter Is the Best Time

by David Budbill

Winter is the best time
to find out who you are.

Quiet, contemplation time,
away from the rushing world,

cold time, dark time, holed-up
pulled-in time and space

to see that inner landscape,
that place hidden and within.

early snow
 
early winter

I’m ready, too, to get back to disappearing.

The Art Of Disappearing 

by Naomi Shihab Nye

When they say Don’t I know you?

say no.

When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
before answering.

Someone telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
Then reply.

If they say we should get together.
say why?

It’s not that you don’t love them any more.
You’re trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.

When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven’t seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don’t start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.

Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.

early winter

I’m going to remember these flowers, the way snow can come out of nowhere, unseasonable, when someone invites me to a party. I’m going to decide what to do with my time carefully. Things can change so quickly.

snow in September

The snow falling early as it has, reminds me of an article I’ve been saving for a while, about Jorie Graham in The Guardian, which came out when her book Fast was published. In this excerpt, she talks about the stage she is at in her career and her life:

“It comes not only late in her career and in her life, a gathering for which she feels she has been preparing always – “You have to be ready for the late work. Make sure you develop a toolkit that’s wide enough for every middle stage and especially for the end” – but also is imbued, through and through with a feeling of “too-lateness”: we meet her father as a body, after he has died; that last poem begins with her mother’s hands drawing her in the air but is also about her mother having disappeared into dementia; we are almost too late climatically, perhaps too late in terms of “what we’ve done, digitally, to a generation.””

my backyard in September

The article continues:

“I am living in the late season,” says Graham, but “but it has its songs, too. I have to find what they are. I wouldn’t be writing the poems if I didn’t think they were leading to a kind of consciousness that would allow one to become more fully awake, even in this period which is trying everything it can to shut one down.” Making things visible, looking, feeling – “they are my form of resistance”.

september in Edmonton

One of the messages of the snow: prepare.

As Graham says, you have to be ready for the late work. You have to begin stocking the toolbox, you have to prepare for wintering. How will your songs emerge in the bright snow, the cold ahead?

edmonton winter in september
11-early winter sept 13 2018-37.jpg
Snow in September
snow in September
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