Thursday, November 20, 2014

On Branches Heavy with Snow

On Branches Heavy with Snow

Sur des branches chargées de neige


From one snowy branch to the other, in these years
That have passed without a wind
Ever frightening their leaves,
Fragments of light scatter
At certain moments, as we go into the silence.

And this powder is boundless when it falls,
We cannot tell if a world still
Exists, or if our wet hands have grasped
Some crystal of reality, perfectly pure.

Colors that grow deeper with the cold, blues and purples
That call from further off than the fruit,
Are you our dream that does not so much vanish
As become prescience and path?

And yes, the sky itself has those clouds
Whose obviousness is the daughter of the snow,
And if we turn toward the whitened road,
It is the same light there, and the same peace.


Except, of course, that in this world, images
Are like the flowers that pierce the snow
In March, then burst open in full splendor
In the dreams we have of festive days,

And should one bend over them, hoping to carry off
By the armful the joy that they promise,
See how soon they die, not so much in the shadow
Of their fading color as in our hearts.

Beauty is arduous, almost an enigma,
And endless is the task of learning its meaning
On the slopes of the flowering meadow,
Still covered here and there with plates of snow.

--Yves Bonnefoy

From In the Shadow's Light.

There is no snow in my yard today, yet so near to me, so deeply familiar are the crystal hues described so deftly by Yves Bonnefoy in the poem above: they belong to this time of year. The photos are from last winter.

A friend introduced me to Bonnefoy's writing recently; I am slowly savoring this new literary acquaintance.

Beauty — be not caused — It Is —
Chase it, and it ceases —
Chase it not, and it abides —

Overtake the Creases

In the Meadow — when the Wind
Runs his fingers thro' it —
Deity will see to it
That You never do it —

--Emily Dickinson

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