Poetry Dispatch No. 42 | December 22, 2005
A silent white Christmas to you. 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. With a sky full of November.
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.
Winter Book is a mature book with a sense of completion and acceptance. The season is winter, the dominant theme is the acceptance of small wonders, including decay and obscurity. Like Blei himself, Winter Book is alternately nostalgic, angry, and amusing. It is in some respects a very public book; in others a very personal collection. The journalistic profiles are Blei’s personal experiences and friends, including public experiences and friends, including public figures like Chan Harris and Al Johnson, and Door County natives, poets, musicians, and artists. The fictions – “Dying Words,” “Skating Backwards,” “Love Untold,” “The Hunter,” “The Ice Fisherman” – reflect the Door landscape on a deeper level.