February 13, 2003

Night Vision

Image copyright Fred First To tell the truth, I don't always go willingly on the last dog walk of the night. When you're warm and sluggish and already thinking how good that down comforter is going to feel, its awfully hard to get dressed again in your winter survival clothes, to venture out into the cold and dark. We stumble along in the crusty snow to find the dog the appointed roadside tree du noir. But there are some times, many, if I'm honest, that all my grumbling is just bluster, because I have learned that often these late night walks produce memories I would never have had, snug and drowsy in my slippers warm inside.

The moon is just past half full
but the snow that persists in the pasture
and under the dark winter forest
gives off the light of two moons,
white light coming down, blue light
coming up, off of, out of snow,
blue translucent with razor shadows
of the fine extremities of trees.

We stand for a moment,
adjusting our coats to the wind,
our eyes to the unexpected silver brightness,
stitching together in memory
a panorama of seamless images
and the sound of the wind, the smell of cold.

And there is motion, somewhere, movement
like the flicker of a silent movie.
And again, not movement, sudden,
not everywhere but discrete
at the edge of vision and understanding
a change of state, subtle, massive and unnamed.

Rippling across the field under the bluewhite snow
Dark liquid shadows in shades of gray the size of meadows
Surge from behind us coming under our feet
Pouring into creeks and quickly away
Rising without effort under snow under oaks
To the top of the ridge and it is gone.

The valley fills with lunacy and light
As another dark wave surges past, and another
Like an armada of ghost ships propelled by moonbeams.
The world flickers between life and death
Between cloud and shadow and
I am terrified and raptured, a frail vapor
So close to heaven and so bound to this throbbing world.

Posted by fred1st at February 13, 2003 06:41 AM | TrackBack

Mmm, inky goodness.

Posted by: Lisa at February 13, 2003 10:34 AM

"Tree du noir"? Tree of the black?
Or: "tree du nuit" (tonight's tree)?

I'm doing it again. Sorry.

Liked the poem.

Posted by: Pascale Soleil at February 13, 2003 11:31 AM

Beautifully written...

Posted by: deb at February 13, 2003 02:37 PM

Nice air of mystery here, Fred. Thanks!

Posted by: sainteros at February 13, 2003 04:22 PM

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