A New Year’s Day
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
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
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
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]