Posted in poem of the week

Poem of the Week: “Why is the Color of Snow?” by Brenda Shaughnessy

53562-snow-tracks-and-sunshine

Why is the Color of Snow?

~Brenda Shaughnessy

 

Let’s ask a poet with no way of knowing.

Someone who can give us an answer,

another duplicity to help double the world.

 

What kind of poetry is all question, anyway?

Each question leads to an iceburn,

a snownova, a single bed spinning in space.

 

Poet, Decide! I am lonely with questions.

What is snow? What isn’t?

Do you see how it is for me.

 

Melt yourself to make yourself more clear

for the next observer.

I could barely see you anyway.

 

A blizzard I understand better,

the secrets of many revealed as one,

becoming another on my only head.

 

It’s true that snow takes on gold from sunset

and red from rearlights. But that’s occasional.

What is constant is white,

 

or is that only sight, a reflection of eyewhites

and light? Because snow reflects only itself,

self upon self upon self,

 

is a blanket used for smothering, for sleeping.

For not seeing the naked, flawed body.

Concealing it from the lover curious, ever curious!

 

Who won’t stop looking.

White for privacy.

Millions of privacies to bless us with snow.

 

Don’t we melt it?

Aren’t we human dark with sugar hot to melt it?

Anyway, the question—

 

if a dream is a construction then what

is not a construction? If a bank of snow

is an obstruction, then what is not a bank of snow?

 

A winter vault of valuable crystals

convertible for use only by a zen

sun laughing at us.

 

Oh Materialists! Thinking matter matters.

If we dream of snow, of banks and blankets

to keep our treasure safe forever,

 

what world is made, that made us that we keep

making and making to replace the dreaming at last.

To stop the terrible dreaming.

 

 

 

From Human Dark with Sugar, Copper Canyon Press, 2008.

Advertisements

Author:

The Center for Poetry opened in the fall of 2007 to encourage the reading, writing, and discussion of poetry and to create an awareness of the place and power of poetry in our everyday lives. We think about this in a number of ways, including through readings, shows, community outreach, and workshops. We are at work building a poetry community at MSU and in the greater Lansing area. Contact: cpoetry@msu.edu (517) 884-1932 http://www.poetry.rcah.msu.edu

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s