Nancy: Winter's here, and yet memory provides the colors of summer. Instant replay on the pages of my mind.
Remember the lilies? Over there?
Warm sunrise, gold, dusk?
And on the fence to the west – there –
remember the roses?
Never mind that the bay
is more nearly blued steel than blue sky,
that the sky is as sharp as knives.
Someday these bones will rise,
and dress themselves, and dance.
Yes, they have.
Someday they will.
Alan: In winter, on calm nights, we know the Canada geese are out there on the water in their scores and hundreds. Not seen, no, but heard.
Wild Geese Crying All Night
All night, the music of wild geese
rises from spraddled, indeterminate bays,
casting the riddles of chill, woven, unseen tides:
antiphonal, convivial, conversational –
below the silent house, out over the back ridge,
through the comb of black trees –
ensembles, solos, choruses:
shawms and sackbuts in unhuman, ancient keys.
When Shantideva offers to the Buddhas
“the endlessly fascinating cry of wild geese,”
I see them on nights calm as this,
flying swiftly above the high peaks,
their voices quavering from 30,000 feet,
remembering in hollow bones the new grass.
I see them falling like late snow on milk-white glacial lakes.
I see them settling their wings, becoming ovoid,
floating, their heads tucked in, at rest.
I see them waiting to be born again.
I see them home.
It is so bright, we should all be outside on the snow,
looking up, straining to hear the miraculous, distant foghorn,
the hard, mute stars overhead,
feeling our bodies gathered, then lifted by the geese,
lifted and borne away on moonlight –
if only we knew the songs and the water’s songs –
towards Orion, his wavering sword,
and the farther attending spheres.