Saturday, 20 of January of 2018

Category » Loren Eiseley

Loren Eisely – The Snowstorm


‘It is the first and last snows – especially the last –
that blind us most,’ Thoreau once said, and I wonder
what he possibly could have been thinking since snow
is always with us and keeps falling
in its proper season,
the generations accepting it without first or last
save perhaps this:
There is a single snow which a child
stores in his memory, the first
snow when he falls in a drift, the first
snow that reveals secrets
like the flake on his sleeve
always to be remembered because it brought
knowledge of crystalline perfection, infinite diversity to be tested
with his own salt tears,
the immeasurable prodigality
of the universal worlds in which we are lost,
the first and blinding snow of childhood.
The view from the farm window, the last,
IceCavewith the black guest
waiting at the door
and outside
falling and falling
across corn shocks
wheat stubble
the whiteness of the void. Lucretius must so have seen his atoms,
out of them a world. A wind whipped the flakes aside, perhaps,
a snow flurry that conceived
a farmhouse kitchen
and a stove,
made fields,
made animals,
made men.
Look, can you say I am not composed of snowflakes?
My eyes are filled with them.
They are falling faster now.
Suppose I go
outside and join them.
Could you say that I
was ever here? No, no. The first blindness is to see the ultimate minute perfection.
SnowBabyThat is the illusion of the water drop.
The second is to believe
the black guest at the door.
My friend,
there is only the blindness of a million years of snowfall,
and you and I
wraiths, wraiths, discoursing as we fall.
Do not bother to throw up the window,
snow is already blowing
the room is disassembled,
our substance,
the room’s substance, is snowflakes;
we are falling apart now,
we have re-entered
the eternal storm.

Loren Eiseley

Loren Eisely – Timberline

In the fell fields where elfin timber grows
above tree limits and the world is dwarfed,
where every thousand-year-old pine is crouched
behind huge boulders like a rifleman
hunched to the earth, where even leaves must hide
against the wind that screams on naked granite,
this is where one comes
to be alone; not just alone, to feel
what life is like when one must cringe to live.
Here trees crawl forward on their knees, stretching cold roots
upward, drag leaves after them
upon a stunted body, but this effort
is not to creep away, but gain a summit.
Insects shed wings
lest they blow backward;
the mountain weasels squirm
forward amidst rock falls.
forgets the downward path, gives all, warmth, comfort, growth.
Each would climb
void space if that were possible, or could be. They will find a way.
Subalpine_lake_Goms_SwitzerlandWho asked them here? No answer.
Who sounded no retreat
before this age-long battle had begun?
What diplomats cried peace, there in the lowlands?
Who assigned this mission
to rise and trouble the galaxial wheel?
No one will answer, no, not seed nor root.
On this tremendous height there is no answer
I come as night’s sworn agent, cynical. I see that life cannot
speak to its purpose. These crawling, knobby roots,
save the locked struggle.
enter the mind.
Where is it the wind howls? Here. Where is it life speaks? Here.
weasels, like inchworms,
This is the final fell field. Who flinches here but crawls?
I, I, against the stars.

Loren Eiseley
from The Innocent Assassins

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