First snow of the season:
The night I received this book full
of blank pages (perfect gift
for a poet), it snowed. Next morning,
our yard was a white expanse, devoid even
of bird tracks, a newborn world, tabula rasa,
as blank as (according to John Locke)
a baby's mind, though perhaps babies have
too much to remember,
and not just prenatal dreaming
(as hermetic as the chipmunk's
in his snowed-in, fur-lined lair,
just beyond our front door),
but life after life, a chain of lost bodies,
friends, languages and worlds dwindling away
beyond whatever time uses for a horizon.
Perhaps the baby's alleged blankness
is only a forgetting. Snow covers
only briefly (except where it never melts,
but who lives there?) our familiar brown
and green world.
Is the blank page, too, a forgetting?
A false innocence? At the instant
I recognize most undeniably my words
as a poem, it feels, not like a new thing,
but a remembering, perhaps of what
the blank page has been refusing to say.
Note: Most of you don't need to be told, but be nice for those
who do: John Locke, 18th Century philosopher, said that a baby begins
as a blank slate (tabula rasa), upon which life scribbles experience.
Every baby I've met knew exactly where to look to find me.
Our damned cat (whom we love) has since destroyed that chipmunk
(whose energy we admired, his linear zip, like the Energizer bunny).