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a new year’s day

A New Year’s Day

By
Norbert Blei

Editor’s Note: It’s a new day here that can’t make up its mind…rain, snow…gray, brightening…mild, freezing…windy, calm.

While the New Year’s Eve greetings sent to friends yesterday, suggested anticipation, hope, with the first new day about to break, here we are now: tomorrow has arrived, bundled in gray, with the reality of whatever the day is, and the uncertainty of the days, weeks, months to follow.

William Carlos Williams captures the moment of ‘was’ and ‘is’ and ‘forthcoming’ in a way worth noting, given the first new day–reverie and invocation. — Norbert Blei

Reverie and Invocation

by
William Carlos Williams

Whether the rain comes down
or there be sunny days
the sleets of January or the haze
of autumn afternoons, when
we dream of our youth our gaze
grows mellow, wise man or fool,
we were young, the future
beckoned us.

Now we grow old and grey
and all we knew is forgotten
there comes alive in
the ash of today, memory! a god
who revives us! the apple trees
we climbed as a boy
the caress on our necks of
a summer breeze.

Come back and give us
those days when passion drove us
to break every rule.
We weren’t bad, but good!
May our preachers find us
the courage still to sin so
and win so! and win so!
a life everlasting.

[from: Collected Poems]

Editor’s Note: Snow is finally falling upon Door County as I write. There goes the plow down my road. The first plow, the first real snow of winter that has so far escaped us—to the joy of many, to the dissatisfaction of others who have come to look upon this peaceful time with reverence. While the young think of snowballs and snowmen and sleds… I think of the incredible transformation of the rural landscape…snow falling on trees and barns and fields and small graveyards… a quiet so silent, so serene, I strive to hear a snowflake fall as I walk into it… taste the new morning… –Norbert Blei

Winter Mind

One must have a mind of winter…

 

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

–Wallace Stevens, “The Snowman”

I’m not finished with winter yet. And winter is not finished with me.

If I put everything down in words I want to say, there would still be more secrets under the snow.

These are a young man’s fears and an old man’s love. Or the opposite. I am neither young nor old. Winter beckons.

To make note of things–all a writer really does. To find a way in and a way out, making changes with each step. Scribbles, ramblings, seeds in a pod. Dry leaves rattling on bare branches in a fierce autumn wind. Note.

I should step back and revise all I have written so far. I should vaguely consider what lies ahead. But I am out of time. What lies ahead is always the next word.

There is a cold rain falling today…
I can barely wait for what comes next. My mind is laden with winter.

It has been said that a writer possesses a mere handful of themes to which he returns and refashions time and time again. Winter is one of mine. The clarity of ice. The perfection of snow. The silence to transformation.

I love the time before the coming snow. Months away, days away, moments away. As radiant as the coming of spring may be with all its wonder of leaf, flower, thunder, warmth, and water. As regenerative the heat of summer months of mindless joy. As thoughtful the autumn color, the falling light. Winter is where the gods lie in pastures of white beseeching a hand to hold, to take into the deep.

Here, take mine.

[from WINTER BOOK, Norbert Blei, Ellis Press]

11 Comments

  1. Thanks, Norb, for a beautiful mind picture of Door County in winter. I miss it so! Here in St. Louis, it feels like spring and, since we had no white Christmas, I wish it were. But I’ve spent too many St. Louis winters to expect that spring is near. Let the ice come. In 97 days I’ll be back where my heart is.

  2. I like the snow. I like it when it announces its presence with a clear white light that permeates even my drawn morning blinds. I like it when my dog stops just outside the open front door, sniffs the air, and then bounds into the chilled white mantle and rolls over on her back. I like it when it pushes easily under my shovel to the side of the driveway. I don’t like it when it slows my progress on the drive to Florida.

  3. 75 tomorrow.
    And feeing good.

  4. I love this book; there is such a quiet feel to the winter as you describe it and also the tape of you reading about driving through northern Door on Christmas Eve. Such peace. Wish every person could gain what I do from these. Keep teasing us with these excerpts–I’m getting my reading glasses!

  5. along those lines of William Carlos Williams a Happy New Year to you, Norb, and thanks for keeping the poetic spirit alive.

    NEIGHBORHOOD

    When lights go on at night,

    and dreams come out with the moon,

    then we hear the cats making love on stairways

    and someone next door letting down the shutter –

    all signs of what a neighborhood can mean!

    Such a locality is like a paint brush going over memories

    of past years with more years to come in near future,

    and therefore we see kids grow up, others leave

    while some old folks disappear forever.

    If only this brush of history could soothe

    the eyes in search of signs of love.

    HF 30.12.2011

  6. Happy New Year Norb. Every season is an absolute joy. Bring on the snow and cold for us to enjoy.

  7. May your blogs continue to thrive inspiring their readers with poetic musings. Let’s hope passion is present at every age.

  8. Happy New Year Norbert…a toast t you ans yours..!!

  9. Just happen to be doing my annual revisit to your Winter Book, my favorite of yours. And each year I chuckle all over again at the marvelous sight gag on Page 159 where Charlie Root falls forward ahead of you in the snow “flat on his chest, face in the snow. The bright pink soles of his boots looked back to me in alarm.” I see each time that pair of improbable exclamation marks! (Thanks!) Jean

  10. Winter, spring, summer, fall…nobody does it better than you Norb. But winter..yes, especially winter. Wisconsin winter, with the savageness of it’s beauty, the wondrous that all the tiny things survive somehow. and for you the writer, always the time when solitude is a little more available. Solitude, the divine milk of the muse. You love it and use it well.
    Millions of snowflakes everyone different, there has to be a God.

  11. A New Year is nothing more than a pile of clay, fashioned by the muse…

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