Wednesday, May 30, 2012

pink redundancies

An excerpt from Charles Reznikoff's Autobiography: New York, which can be read in its entirety here.

I am afraid
because of the foolishness
I have spoken.
I must diet
on silence;
strengthen myself
with quiet.

Where is the wisdom
with which I may be medicined?
I will walk by myself
and cure myself
in the sunshine and the wind.

 I've posted the above lines before, but I keep coming back to them.  To the poem, which is about walking, about looking, and yet, is an autobiography.

I also come back to the poems of Charles Wright, frequently enough.  If you've read Wright, then you know that many of his poems are 'sitting in the backyard, thinking, looking' poems.  In this one, he's sitting in a red leather wing chair.

It's only in darkness you can see the light, only
From emptiness that things start to fill,
I read once in a dream, I read in a book
                                                        under the pink
Redundancies of the spring peach trees.

I fluctuate between walking and sitting.  Both are curative in their ways.  One attempts to empty oneself, fill oneself with seeing, with the pink redundancies of blossoms.

The suburbs, those strange things I see on my quiet walks, have been entering my poems lately.

Huge, shiny red trucks that hide behind delicate white blossoms, for example.

I'm still making the adjustment, slowly, from winter light, to spring light.  It's more difficult than you might imagine.  The camera settings are different, of course.  I find I'm blinking more, squinting.  I'm waking up earlier in the morning - it's lighter so much earlier.  I'm groggier, but I'm also more awake.

There must be a blessing for all those people who plant blossoming trees and shrubs near fences, so that passersby may partake of the scent and colour of the heavy flowering that bows over.

Walking, I diet on silence.  Match my breathing to my footsteps.  I drink in colour, and birdsong.  Sometimes I walk with my eyes closed for a while, a strange and unnerving childhood habit.  A different way of seeing the world.


  1. Shawna

    I have never been someone to dig in a garden, however, this Spring I've been over to my mother's weeding, cutting and digging. Dirt under my finger nails, scratches on my fore arms and my head full of the fragrance of flowers I cannot name. There is something about the act of gardening that fills you with a sense of being alive. It's really quite magical.

    Spring with it's light is my New Year, although, here in Vancouver if we blink it's gone.


  2. I always think the garden won't interest me any more after a long winter, but then I start messing about in it, and you're right - it's completely enlivening.

    Thrilled to see that you started your blog, Pat : )

  3. You walk with your eyes closed??? Wow.....
    Gardening is a metaphor for life; for raising children. You plant, maintain, experiment, hold your breath, wish, toil, the work seems endless, the joy fleeting, yet it is completely consuming. It has certainly enriched my life. I like the idea that it's made others' lives nicer, too - just walking by......
    Lovely pix!

  4. So true - so true. We're re-doing our front garden this year, and I keep thinking about yours - how it's so nice for those who walk by. With some luck, the kids will also be enriching the lives of others. : )


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