Writers, artists and photographers help us appreciate the natural world through the lens of their sensitivity and unique vision. Our selection of responses from the arts begins with a poet who transforms snow through her associative genius.
Cecily Parks is the author of the poetry collection Field Folly Snow. She recently earned a PhD in English from the CUNY Graduate Center. A resident of Cambridge, Massachusetts, she teaches poetry writing at Columbia University.
This poem first appeared in the January/February 2012 issue of Orion magazine, located in Great Barrington, MA. Their website is www.orionmagazine.org.
This newness of snow. This boot-ringing
as the snow warms in the sun to crush. These holes
we wind around the witnessing pines. This
violation of white. This slowness of moose.
This counting of steps. This counting of scars
in the bark: the warty burl bulging low
on the trunk, the black-scratchings left
by a bear learning to climb. This counting
of sleeps between this country & the next country
we call home. These branches shucking off
the statuesque in avalanches of needles & ice.
This progress, as in the wind-scalloped snowmeadow
pretending to be moon. This love that sets us scrambling
over the map’s last ridge, our red hoods bright
in shrunken sky. This metallic weather in which we
are the ore. This alder. These crimson-tipped willows
reverberating next to a river of turquoise ice. This
following the deep tracks of one coyote stepping
where another has stepped. This wilderness
that we trespass, burning like berries in the juniper
& becoming the air in the belfry.