Looking at Sticks in Winter

winter character

Looking at Sticks in Winter

After a light overnight snow grounded things stand out
like a character for winter

autumn’s fallen sticks seem arranged
a gentle alphabet of dropped and windblown things

are all alphabets constructed of things that no longer grow
snapped or broken things until the world made sense of the drift

do I know as I look down on them they are looking
past me pointing to all that is still living above our heads

to all that will be green again whether I look or not
are all languages a message in relief or is it my own relief

that words will never be in season the spring they sprouted
from long gone the spring yet to arrive as forgetful

as we are with each other with growing and shedding
that even my name is an accidental landing

10 thoughts on “Looking at Sticks in Winter

  1. Ron

    I came away from this poem wondering, as I always do, what the “payback” is for poets such as you and Robert O. to show up here on WordPress with your magical wares day in and day out month after month. Is WP primarily a place to “test the waters,” or is it more like a community of friends difficult to find anywhere else. I mean…you and Robert O. are a different breed of cat entirely than the rest of us who just hang around trying to learn the craft you guys learned years ago. I hope you understand the question I’m struggling with because I don’t know any other way to ask.

    Oh! Did I fail to mention that I, too, am just enthralled with the line “that even my name is an accidental landing.” Wow…dynamite stuff! My own “accidental landing” came about with Mother and Daddy naming me Ronald Wayne Evans. Somewhere around the seventh grade I became aware that I shared an accidental landing with Ralph Waldo Emerson in the initials of our names. I wish this rambling meant something, but you’ll have to puzzle that one out. I’m busy at nearly 4:00 a.m. trying to bowdlerize the immortal lines of the limerick “There once was a caveman named Dave”!!


    1. Jeff Schwaner Post author

      Thanks Ron. I am sure you will capably find new meanings for that limerick line! As for the first question, I have been pondering an essay that would incorporate that question and a few others, and will at any rate try to answer it in depth for you later. And of course in the meantime I welcome anyone reading this to respond, because really it’s a “why are we poets?” type of question. Like you, Ron, I really enjoy Robert Okaji’s work as well, and I’m glad that through him I was introduced to your work.

      1. robert okaji

        Thanks, Jeff and Ron. For me, the writing is the reward. That, and having a means of sharing the writing. While I still submit work to publications, the blog ensures that I’m not dependent upon that model. And yes, there is a feeling of community, of belonging to some odd, wonderful group of readers and writers.

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