not a pretty picture. not a good. not a bad. picture. but an argument.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

wind through swamp grass

Archetype by Pattiann Rogers

I do not move through time. I move
through rain. When rain falls
straight down on mossy brick walls
or the bodies of lounging seals
or continuously at a slant into the rush
of gorges or the open mouths of desert
birds, that isn't at all the way time
moves, is it? Rain is not time,
and I know it is rain I move within.

Or snow, as one in its infusion,
even at midair, is more an ever-present
covering of sky and land than a future
or a passing. Walking through this frozen
ruggled weave of white, it's obvious
I live in forest snow, not time.

Time can't happen all at once
in random multidimensional features
like the swirling rise and shifting,
overlaying orbits of wing bones and cries
that happen when the egrets leave
their lakeside roost. My place
has always been the surrounding sounds
of wetland peepers and crows, the silence
of sun-sprung pods and buds among tree
lattices and their shadows crossing
themselves, departing and doubling back.
This is nothing like the strictly
linear place of time.

Wind can come from all directions,
simultaneously down from invisible
black portals and tunnels in the night
and dark and up from caverns of cool
earth, bringing with it wet rock
fragrances, sullen bat and moth mold
and must. Wind has no marked beginning,
no signal ending. It can be slashed
by switchgrasses and spurge nettles
into a million slits and figments
that have no specific designations,
as moments and seconds and instants do.
The south wind newly warm once came
round and round through my hair, cupped
my face, lifted my blouse, and left.
Time has never been so charmingly
caressive. And I say it is the realm
of wind without time where I exist.

Poor hopeless fool.


  1. Erin, that is a wonderful post!and the poem of wind also-even i didn't understand all of it, i felt every movement of wind in those words and i stand near the lake, near that unimaginable blue-green-with-flowers, which reinventes the sense of time,the sense of mirror of any objects,just pass.
    for a meoment,i felt that my hair is the whisper of a lake:)

    1. miriam, i can only hope that somehow the language finds its way to you precisely. you can't imagine what pattiann rogers does. i can't and i actually read and understand her in english. yet what she does defies conventional use of language, and by far, most poetry.

      this wind - i have no doubt that your hair is lifting in this very wind.

      that the world is this buoys me, heartens me, quakes me and shames me (for i don't always always see it). james and i were simply driving by this which was happening alongside a highway.


  2. Love, love, love this, Erin. I think this is my new favorite poem. :-) These lines are so fine:

    "My place has always been the surrounding sounds of wetland peepers and crows, the silence of sun-sprung pods and buds among tree lattices and their shadows crossing themselves, departing and doubling back."

    And the last verse is purely magical...Once, about 30 years ago, I was walking in deep woods praying. I was crying, going through a very hard time in my life and asked, rather selfishly, for God to speak to me. Suddenly, surrounded by trees, ONE single tree began swaying in the wind. I fell to my knees and just looked up in wonder and felt my spirit lift---It was a defining moment in my life. To me, the wind will always be the breath of God. xo

    1. marion, have you read it aloud? my god, what pattiann rogers can do. i have lost count at how many times i have found myself overcome with her poems, in skill, structure, and epiphany through relation, ecstasy through translation! truly, i have cried out. i can't believe what she does is possible. you must get her book, Song of the World.

      how i understand the answer to your call! and aren't we always calling out? and isn't god (yes, you and i shall name it/him this) always answering? i see you fall to your knees and i cry out at this, seeing myself, and each of us.


  3. Astonishingly beautiful photographs. Colour is life and movement. Here on earth... and yet this also seems a "capture" of eternity.


"Words at the limit of hearing, attributable to no one, received in the conch of the ear like dew by a leaf." (philippe jaccottet) or even a quiet presence is appreciated))