Like a boy again, I watch falling snow
with memories of the first time I saw it
falling, thrilled as if God had ordered
the spectacle just for me, awed
with wonder and questions.
There is no wind. Large flakes fall
almost vertically and concentration,
the dormant world of winter disappearing
in whiteness and stillness, slipping into
a numbing sleep.
The afternoon light dims, thickens
to gradual darkness. Is this how it
will be when dying? Diminishment,
things vanishing, receding to an
unreachable horizon, a far-off emptiness?
So beautiful a sight is falling snow
why does it remind me of dying, death,
nothingness? It is like the evil we
cannot justify, the beast that stalks
within us, hungry, whose heart pounds
within our own, whose scent mingles
with ours, the beast whose approach
is never far off from our weaknesses,
which we sometimes hear growing
in us, just before it overtakes us,
then clamps its open jaws on us
and brings us down, lapping the blood
of our lives until we are bleached white
like hard bread.
In the morning I will look at the snow
as I do now. The scene will engender
unsettling states of mind. Whiteness,
like darkness, when all consuming,
becomes an omnipresence as menacing
as fear. I will think myself a hostage, captive,
imprisoned by hostile walls, under the stern
watch of its surveillance; the world outside
no better, disfigured into a tragic figure,
submissive, mute, no longer knowing itself.
And then the clouds will break, thin out
and the first gashes of blue will appear
in the sky like a torn garment, and the sun
will pierce through and arch over us
with its sovereign smile, and snow
will fall piecemeal from trees and branches
like forgiven transgressions, and I
will walk out from these walls
as from a tomb into the sharp light.
Copyright © Maurice Rigoler | Year Posted 2018