Friday, December 8, 2017

Suppose it were Friday cxliii: If you do not come this day

               Morning and the snow might fall forever.
               I keep busy. I watch the yellow dogs
               chase creeping cars filled with Indians
               on their way to the tribal office.
               Grateful trees tickle the busy underside
               of our snow-fat sky. My mind is right,
               I think, and you will come today
               for sure, this day when the snow falls.

               From my window, I see bundled Doris Horseman,
               black in the blowing snow, her raving son,
               Horace, too busy counting flakes to hide his face.
               He doesn't know. He kicks my dog        
               and glares at me, too dumb to thank the men
               who keep him on relief and his mama drunk.

               My radio reminds me that Hawaii calls
               every afternoon at two. Moose Jaw is overcast,
               twelve below and blowing. Some people . . .
               Listen: if you do not come this day, today
               of all days, there is another time
               when breeze is tropic and riffs the green sap
               forever up these crooked cottonwoods. Sometimes,
               you know, the snow never falls forever.

We marvel now, to be shacked up
with a Party devoted to humili-
ation as the destiny of human-
ity - or, at least that portion
under its grasping governance:
marginalized as vulgar, in-
effectual, superstitious, cap-
tious, and cruel in the eyes
of the world, and subordinate
to exploitive layers of incor-
porated priests, mediating be-
tween ourselves and authority.
They set their face against
time, and anything that endures.

It is remarkable, David Ferry
wrote in his preface to Virgil's
Georgics, how the triumphs and
sufferings of the creatures other
than man are fully meaningful 
and substantiated in themselves;
they're never merely background
for, not merely metaphors for, 
the story of men. The dignity of
what they are is never exploited
as pathetic fallacy; there is no
condescension toward those others
who share our fallen world with us.

In the Classics we situate our
endeavors in a context of vastly
less illusion than our Parties
condition us to crave, but this
conduit is not content, it is
method: the eyesight of poetry.
This is why, after any reflection
in the world of Virgil, one turns
seamlessly effortlessly to the
poetry of the American, James Welch.

In this wonderful week, when an Am-
erican President stripped protec-
tions of preservation from a great
natural monument, and hurled the
ancient peoples of Palestine into
a vastly more volatile conflict
than international accords have
ever condoned, it is apposite to
see the trees, the dogs, the snow
invoked, not as background for re-
volting violations of promises. As 
very real sharers of our condition.

Riding the Earthboy 40
  Going to Remake This World
op. cit.
Penguin, 2004©

i  Edward Dimsdale

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