||[Mar. 20th, 2016|06:23 pm]
The thickened clouds merge and lose their individual identity. The rain comes and slicks the pavement, making it a mirror to reflect the monotony of the sky's diffused, gray light. The falling water becomes the day's variation; faster, slower, louder, softer. The air is streaked with the light the rain catches, un-diffusing it, then is not. A gusty breeze induces shrubs and trees to fling broadcast their hoarded drops of bright water like farmers of an ancient time sowing seeds. |
Earthworms are burrowing through softer soil today, among all the roots that are drawing water back skyward. In the nearby vales the frogs must be crouching in fresh mud along their stream banks. Perhaps they are already croaking, celebrating the freshness of the swifter water, but if so, from this distance the rain drowns their sounds and I can't hear them. Or perhaps they are waiting for the silvered sky above them to darken just a bit more before they begin their evening performance. They won't have to wait long. The sun will soon be setting, invisibly, due west, its going marked only by the darkening of the world.
For now,the only sound I hear other than the rain and the rustling of the trees is the chattering of a flock of woodpeckers among a nearby clutch of pines. They will soon fall silent, but the rain's pattering, or drumming when it grows stronger, will continue into the darkness. Perhaps later I'll catch a glimpse of moon when a thinner patch of clouds drifts across its path to my yard, and maybe I'll hear the frogs during lulls in the storm. But it's going to be wet for many hours to come. Tomorrow evening there might be a visible sunset, but tonight there will be only the persistent rain. I expect to enjoy it tremendously, and then have it sing me to sleep.
by Alice Oswald
Green, grey and yellow, the sea and the weather
Instantiate each other and the spectrum
Turns in it like a perishable creature.
The sea is old but the blue sea is sudden.
The wind japans the surface. Like a flower,
each point of contact biggens and is gone.
And when it rains the senses fold in four.
No sky, no sea – the whiteness is all one.
So I have made a little moon-like hole
With a thumbnail and through a blade of grass
I watch the weather make the sea my soul,
which is space performed on by a space;
and when it rains, the very integer
and shape of water disappears in water.
I looked up 'instatiate' but got the suggestion of 'instantiate.' Hmmm. I don't think I've ever before seen a serious piece of writing containing a verb conjugated from "to biggen." Interesting poem, as to word choice.
I didn't know woodpeckers ran in flocks! Or flew, more to the point.
I don't have a printed copy of the poem, so I can't check for sure, but my guess is 'instatiate' is a typo in the digital copy I found on the Internets (I frequently copy and paste Sunday Verse, as after so many years I'm low on printed poems. And sometimes I copy and past stuff I do have in print, just to save the trouble of typing something out by hand on this cranky computer.) Anyway, my mind read the word as 'instantiate' so I'll just edit my text to say that. (If I'm wrong and Oswald actually coined a new word, my apologies to her.)
Acorn woodpeckers certainly flock, but I don't know if that's normal for all woodpecker species. Woody appears to have been a loner, but as he's not real I doubt he's a good guide to general woodpecker behavior. Our locals can be seen singly, in pairs, in small groups, and in larger groups. That suggests they might be more like people than many avian species are. They like various amounts of company at various times, and sometimes they just want to Garbo.
I'd never seen 'japan' used as a verb either. She's an odd duck, that Oswald!
I used to have Garbo the Woodpecker out in a tree in Maryland. He'd peck and peck, and I'd watch, feeling pain in my neck in sympathy. (I have arthritis in my neck, but he most likely didn't. A woodpecker with arthritis in its neck would be a sad critter!)