Monday, April 8, 2013

of course it hurts

There's only one month of the year
when it doesn't snow in Alberta.
Some years it snows that month too.

- Robert Kroetsch

And to repeat the poem by Frederick Seidel:


Snow is what it does.
It falls and it stays and it goes.
It melts and it is here somewhere.
We all will get there.

From an article in The Paris Review:

"I like poems that are daggers that sing." (Seidel)

And also from the article:

"Seidel’s reserve has involved an absolute refusal to participate in the public life of poetry. He has never given a reading and, as this writer, who is also his publisher, can ruefully attest, he doesn’t lift a finger to make himself known. Nevertheless, his work has slowly gathered a remarkably intelligent body of critical recognition along with a growing following among younger readers, and there is now a broad consensus that this reclusive, proud writer of willfully “disagreeable” poems is one of the great living practitioners of his art."

I think it would be an interesting comparison - Robert Kroetsch and Frederick Seidel. A very different sort of humour and irreverence in each, but still, humour and irreverence. Kroetsch was of course a large participant in the public life of poetry. One can't help but admire and envy Seidel's refusal. 

It has snowed here for the last many days, but there's yet the feeling of spring. Such brilliant sun this morning and the snow is shining brightly, ready to melt. The sky couldn't be any bluer - and honestly I find myself squinting this morning - even in the house the light is so overwhelming. This change of season. Of course it hurts.....

Of Course It Hurts

Of course it hurts when buds burst.
Otherwise why would spring hesitate?
Why would all our fervent longing
be bound in the frozen bitter haze?
The bud was the casing all winter.
What is this new thing, which consumes and bursts?
Of course it hurts when buds burst,
pain for that which grows
  and for that which envelops.

Of course it is hard when drops fall.
Trembling with fear they hang heavy,
clammer on the branch, swell and slide -
the weight pulls them down, how they cling.
Hard to be uncertain, afraid and divided,
hard to feel the deep pulling and calling,
yet sit there and just quiver -
hard to want to stay
  and to want to fall.

Then, at the point of agony and when all is beyond
the tree's buds burst as if in jubilation,
then, when fear no longer exists,
the branch's drops tumble in a shimmer,
forgetting that they were afraid of the new,
forgetting that they were fearful of the journey -
feeling for a second their greatest security,
resting in the trust
                         that creates the world.


  1. I only just met you through Angela seeing you were friends with her when I prepared the birthday video. I mentioned then I was intrigued by your winter since I'm from Southern California. I love to see winter through your eyes and you have such good words to go with your images.

    1. thanks so much for stopping by! looking forward to looking at your blog!

  2. ooooooh! I love this twiggy bud and bark images! (I also like "poems that are daggers that sing.")

  3. The words I read at Flickr intrigued me so much I simply had to come and read the post. I adore her poem and am inspired to share Boye's poem on my blog too. Such beautiful photos. I don't think I've photographed the buds in the lovely way you have when I lived up north but I do know I have a few at least with hoar frost. I must go see what I have ... see what you started? Such lovely words -- thank you for introducing me to Karin Boye.


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