One morning, approaching winter

Absence has the flavor of meaning
but not the force
a quiet wind speaks
a clear draught of unspoken frequencies
reverberating in chambers and rivulets
of undiluted soul
the undeniable something
with no name and no braking

there is a vibration
that feels like a yellow sun
inching up over evergreens
that jauntily intone
“the snow does not blanket all things”
and the patches of snow admire
this insistence that is life
and aspire to give life
whether situated to do so or not
they will eventually achieve this

we can’t always see the origins
of what we come to know
but we can feel the origins
working through our experience
reminding us that nothing is a test
and the word “reality” is superfluous
and nature contains no untruth
only we in our fear and trembling
only our humilities and vanishings
ringing like glass and chattering like
cattails standing guard against the ice
our mathematics our incomplete
romancing of history
the rhythm and delicacy
of intellect making a plan
that will let the universe express order

constancy is not how the wind
pushes its treatises through us
it is the marrow and bone
of deep character
that dream of all human beings
that we can stave off unraveling
and be strong precisely where
we are most vulnerable

nothing is nothing
everything is more than it seems
there is always a layering
a breadbasket convergence
of urgencies and of frictions
that sometimes act like harmony

there are star-forming regions
inside thoughts and feelings
that spin out threadwork galaxies
beauties that require orchids
mountains and ocean waves
Mayan glyphs and blizzards
to announce their intention
never to be diminished or lost

and all of this is devotion
and all devotion is surrender
of a kind that feels like
a yellow sun inching up over evergreens
that jauntily intone

the snow does not blanket all things

– – – 

NOTE: Excerpts from this poem were rewritten and included in “The Poetry of Climate Ethics“, a lay sermon delivered at the Unitarian-Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County, in Lincroft, New Jersey, on April 6, 2014. 

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