Poem #42/52

Here is the 42nd poem in my 52-poem sequence (one a week) for 2013, followed by some illumination and reflection:


Snow is the blanket that God would throw over usfirst_snow_Frank_Johnston
if he only existed, if only he cared for us
falling, caressing, protecting our innocence
slowly and smoothly removing our differences
his hand on this sheet now reclaiming his progeny
less like a shroud than swaddling for christening
colours depart, tones and shadow predominate
turning the ordinary to revelatory
showing the dream underlying his masterpiece
magical, patient, and gently victorious
a dance in a paperweight, a memory manifest
under the stars and the streetlights innumerate
sparkling of frost like a children’s kaleidoscope
the blossoms of flakes passing under a microscope
ceaselessly falling and taking our eyes with it
backwards and downwards away from self-consciousness
guarding our memories distracting our enemies
preserving our longing in ice for eternity
drowning all sound in a death that is beautiful
drifting, enchanting, and sweetly mysterious
laughable, playful, infinitely serious
snow is the blanket that God would throw over us
if he only existed, if only he cared for us.
winter-sun+Frank Johnston

Sorry for the slightly unseasonal nature of this poem (but hey, it’s always snowing in the world somewhere!), but the sequence reflects the order in which things were written, not the months in which I am now publishing them. I’ve performed this poem aloud to quite a few audiences now, and its waltz-like rhythm comes to life more when said aloud. I must have written it around 2002/2003 I think, but really it’s the product of a lifetime’s reaction to the beauty of falling snow, the almost divine magic it seems to embody and the sacred peace it creates in its wake. The poem seems to say that God doesn’t exist. But does it, actually? My underlying point, and a broader philosophy I adhere to, is that the universe is all the more wonderful if it has built itself without a sentient hand constructing it. -That more poignant and beautiful than God’s presence is his absence… like a modest conductor who did not feel the need to hang around for his applause. And here we all are, standing in our seats clapping long after the curtain has fallen. I am not religious, but I hold great respect for all people of faith, provided they are tolerant of other people’s belief systems, as am I. Personally, I believe that God will exist in the future, and that the evolution of life forms like us represents the process of his/her construction. You can take that as a metaphor or almost literally if you wish. All life yearns upwards towards the same goal: to know itself and seek out and know others akin to itself. I cannot conceive of life as an accident in the universe. That seems absurd to me. More likely, almost self-evident in fact, is surely that life is the whole purpose of the universe, what all matter exists in order to create. Perhaps in the far future a moment of ultimate self-awareness of all living beings will create the next Big Bang. Perhaps we are the fragments of the previous one. Perhaps they are the same event and time is circular.

Our two pictues today are two snow paintings by Frank Johnston, 1888-1949.

This entry was posted in 52 Poem Sequence, Art, History, Poetry, Psychology. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Poem #42/52

  1. lovely. Snow somehow is always a new beginning. To fail to be moved by its beauty leaves us poorer inside.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s