Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Shadows hold their breath

There's a certain Slant of light, (320)


There's a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons –
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes –

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us –
We can find no scar,
But internal difference –
Where the Meanings, are –

None may teach it – Any –
'Tis the seal Despair –
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air –

When it comes, the Landscape listens –
Shadows – hold their breath –
When it goes, 'tis like the Distance
On the look of Death –

And so these are figs from The Italian Centre, where we went this past Saturday. It always feels like a bit of a holiday to go there.

The first photo, I think, is my favorite.  They're all completely untouched.  They just seemed to say what I wanted them to, about that sharp and quick slant of winter light.  It's warm and almost chocolatey as it eases onto our kitchen table which is a dark stained oak.  The shadows do seem to hold their breath at this time of year don't they? And we?

Yes, I think we also do.  I do.

In the past, I have had a habit of wishing winter away, being oppressed by it.  But there is something about these very short days (as I write this at 8:15 am, the sun has not yet come up quite yet or it has but behind deep clouds, and the darkness only reluctantly begins to lift) that I can sink into, that I can love and savor.  A shard of chocolate melted slowly in the mouth while looking out the window into the thick and secret morning dark.

It's silly taking these photographs, I sometimes think. I very often think, in truth. What are they for?  But then one could ask the same question of poems I suppose.  Maybe it is during these very short days of winter that the insignificance of such acts is most acutely felt, and just as quickly one is wildly and quietly grateful for the insignificant, for these magical tricks of the winter slant of light.


  1. Yes! Beautiful! (They are very figgy figs, aren't they?)

  2. Love those pix, Shawna. Chocolate and figs for breakfast? I'm coming over!


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