I began with autumn, but ended coiled up
in early spring, a young snake, like a long limber line of poetry,
relishing its own sinuosity.
Autumn's freedom is the freedom of dropping everything
(it Falls away) -- shedding old serpent-skin desires (for with maturity,
we may crave freedom from our more urgent freedoms;
some would say we move from unbridled to brided [NO,
spell-checker, I mean "brided", not "bridled"]
perhaps abraded, worn smooth as old stones in a creek [and
beginning to creak]). Spring's freedom to create spawns
summer's plenty: freedom to have, to roam among
endless variations in the key of green. Having been sated
with hot-tar-sandy summer, we can begin to detect
the subtler perfume of autumn, the freedom of
letting go, of not having to have, the heavy skyless clouds
opening to a dryer, more distant blue than summer's,
tickled into pungency by fiery-feathered treetops
(more angelic disguise?). Our thoughts, embracing
that tickled blue, find themselves containing a world
tinier than summer's. Sky shrinks world
as paper swallows stone.
I began to fill these pages in winter, for there's a freedom
in nothing at all, the world blanked out --
a milky sky over endless expanse of snow.
It would be too much freedom (fences and walls lost
in drifts) if we didn't sense the factories of spring
humming beneath frozen earth.
When I walk out into new snow, form emerges
to meet my motion, my adjusting senses -- senses both
bundled up and newly naked, like babies. Each step I take
makes marks. Each surface hidden by snow is also
highlighted by it (branches, fence posts, chimneys),
especially when the slant sun breaks through, revealing
blue and purple contours (hints of pink) -- and look!
A delicate gilding where some mutt has declared,
snow or not, this land is MY land! And so
I mark this page.
Note: In stanza 2, unbridled adolescent lust is both freed and
bound by marriage (brided/bridled), abridged by age (cut short,
perhaps better defined), etc. Connecting fiery-feathered autumn
treetops to "more angelic disguise" I think I had
in mind the feathers of angel's wings, the fiery fall of Lucifer
(in the fall?), the fact that a "leaf" is a "page",
a "page" is a "messenger" and "angel"
means messenger, and the Biblical stories of angels in disguise
among men (and a few other things like children as angels
in disguise) and the idea of the autumn trees as another guise.
But also I meant "disguise" to pun "the skies",
as the treetops are leading our vision skyward.
The rest of stanza 2 deals with falling (as spirit) into the
vastness of that autumn sky, a sense of space in comparison with
which the earth that seemed overwhelming in its summer's bounty
seems to have shrunk. "Sky shrinks world as paper swallows
stone" refers to the game two players put their hands/fingers
out in various combinations to see who wins. The three configurations
are paper (flat hand), stone (fist) and scissors (two fingers spread).
If one person holds out paper and the second holds out scissors,
the second wins, because scissors cuts paper. Paper beats (wraps)
stone. Stone beats (breaks) scissors. My version has sky, world
and...? (Not us, because we can't be beat. Perhaps words.)