Seeing

Winter, how do we love thee?

The icicles are getting long. The roads are narrow today because of the huge banks of snow extending into the street. I love this wintery white. The ice is lovely, like dripping crystals all along the edges of the houses. It looks like a painting.

I was wishing I could paint pictures the other day, so I worked on some construction paper with my two-year-old, making broad strokes with washable paint. And when it dried, the thick globs at the edges of the strokes were dark and intentional. Using the brushes and the paint was magnificent. I love the feeling of moving liquid color over a piece of paper. I guess I do that in poetry, too. The words flow in particular ways. The pictures I made were very close to what I have been trying in the poems about yoga. There is a swish of movement within each stroke, and the dark outlines are like the pose of the body in each asana, the particular position of hands, legs, shoulders. Here’s one of my favorites from my series on yoga.

Yearning

I reach up and try to embrace You
in this space between asanas.
My arms form a circle and
when my hands meet,
You are not inside the circle of my arms.
Only an armload of jasmine blossoms
which fall through and onto the floor and mat
where I stand.

What is the point then, of these jasmine flowers
on my feet? I want You, and You give me flowers instead.
When I sit down on my mat, I put my hands
on my knees in the two-finger circle mudra,
and breathe this fragrance into my chest.

I wonder when You will come to me.
My face to Yours, instead of Your flowers
around my legs.

Then shavasana, I lie down in the petals.
My limbs grow heavy, and I close my eyes.
My breath is missing. I notice nothing.
Now You?

Vermont

College Hall, Vermont College of Fine Arts

I wrote a lot more about snow while I was in Vermont last week. This was the second residency of my MFA work. I took lots of notes in the lectures again this time, but instead of leaving them all on my shelf as soon as I came home, I leafed through the notes and jotted down all of the sentences with exclamation points at the end. I put them all on one sheet of paper, which I tore out of the back of my notebook. I also wrote down the sentences I had underlined. They all fit on one page. I hung it above my desk, where I am staring up now, for divine inspiration. Except it is coming from Vermont College of Fine Arts. I wrote things like “Make a poem!” and “compassion for our earlier selves!” Also, “unanswerable questions!” “image!” and my favorite, “When people believe in boundaries, they become a part of them!”

So poems. And becoming boundary-less. And another poem about snow…

Sonnet 3
By A. Anupama

When you snowed, you snowed hard.
The wind blew across my ears, whistling loud.
The drifts and dimmed lights confirmed how far
your passion could go, and I made no sound.
The blizzard passed, and the heavy snow lay
covering all in pure white, a sight of bright
love, complete, and joined to white play,
snowballs, drift slides, sledding, skis and delight.
I walked with you in the snow, sometimes
in drifts past my knees, cold pinching my cheeks,
and when I looked for words to say to your rhymes
my mouth hid behind my scarf. Lips seek
but they take time. The snow turns to slush
then melts to water, rippling you, and I say hush.