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Earthly Poem #2

snowy dogs

Here in the Rockies we have had some late winter storms that have blessed us with snow. It inspires me to share this poem by Wallace Stevens. He captures the sense of timeless emptiness that we can be graced with in nature.

The poem shows us how the strategic parts of ourselves (the parts that are always working the angles, forever trying to engineer something) fade away into the background when we are still and in our senses. Notice how the poet moves from mind, to sight, to sound. The strategic ego-mind becomes superfluous, and a sense of expansion, peace, and freedom comes forward as a result of its irrelevance. In listening to the silence of snowing, the listener dissolves into nothing.

 

The Snow Man

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

 

~ Wallace Stevens

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