Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Winter Dancer

from a letter of William Blake: "I have been near the gates of death & I have returned very weak & an old man feeble and tottering, but not in ?Spirit & Life, not in the Real Man the Imagination which liveth forever. in that I am stronger and Stronger as this Foolish Body decays"
... it's an old poem. Too sentimental. Full of archaic rhetorical flourishes...but one that helped get me through a rought time

Winter Dancer

The sun has drawn its arc four times
across the circle of the year,
transcribed its tangent on the bow,
and now the bow is laid aside, the music stops.

I wake, and see ahead a season without change,
a winter free of spring's apologies, the green
embarrassments of summer lies: an Amundsen
of mind who shakes his shaggy coat
and makes a blizzard out of June!
His eyes glitter under frozen brows;

He smiles, and ice clouds wrap his shoulders
like a mountain in a Himalayan storm.

I know this man, have seen that face,
and not in dreams. His hands are small
and strong like mine; the wind blows brittle
at their finger tips, and yet
a supple music lends his movement

Grace, an ease as when the mind
remembers what the body's lost,
as when an old dancer on a winter day
stops, stiff and cold beneath a snow bent tree,
and hears the dance well up within, and motionless,

Rises like a child's song
into a season of its own creating.

I am the child singing,
out of fear of his old bones,
I sing. He takes my hand
as though it were his own and wraps
me in his great coat. I sing,
and still unmoving as the winter tree above,
he teaches me his dance -- our foolish bodies
clinging one to one

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