Some of us are bristly rather than smooth February 25, 2010Posted by Jenny in nature, philosophy, poetry.
Tags: Barbara J. Bennett, epistemology, snow
Last year, I shared a poem of my mother’s here. As best as I can understand, it had to do with the black, infinite spaces between stars, the places that trouble our imaginations with their unintelligible vastness. The places that remind us that imagination is an absolute requirement of life, not some sort of pleasant decoration.
Today, I want to present another poem of my mother’s that might be particularly appropriate in this time of year when the forces of ice are fighting the forces of thawing and growing.
What I particularly enjoy about this poem is that it starts to lure us into a complacent way of viewing the landscape, then pulls the rug out from under our feet. We are not talking about a “pretty scene” here: we are talking about difficult realities. It also has to do with the human need to find something definite, or what philosophers would call “epistomology.” Here it is.
The Appearance of Snow
In lucid sunlight the evidence
is clear: snow has quietly
remade the meadow into a scene
of undreamed simplicity.
But seek no deep truth in the snow:
it is just a cover, a white lie.
It fell quite by chance last night,
erasing the whole known world,
but now, prickly whiskers of brittle
grass-tips stick up through the surface,
stiff reminders of the difficult world
that lies forgotten below, cloaked
by the snow’s deceit.