Sunday, February 7, 2010


snow up on the roof over the front porch

i get a view
of steven.

and i get to watch him
as he lives his life.

he knows i am watching
without judgement
but then too -

being keenly aware
of the features of automatism
he has embraced
and also of those
features of his personality with which
he engages with
and deflects the needs of the world -

i wonder
what he would be like
if he gave up all pretense,
let go of the stolen thoughts
and ideas
that are sometimes his currency,

and saw them as
mediating the dance
light and dark.

that shadow, my likeness, that goes to and fro, seeking a livelihood, chattering,
how often i find myself standing and looking at it where it flits;
how often i question and doubt whether that is really me;
—but in these, and among my lovers, and caroling my songs,
o i never doubt whether that is really me.

the snow at the back of my home


Dan Gurney said...

Riddle, paradox:
Dark and light, sound and silence.

Delwyn said...

Hello Steven

that is a very wise and astute old shadow you have...

Happy days my friend

Dave King said...

I do admire the minimalism of these images and the way they expand into extended thought in the poems.

Barry said...

Wow look at all that beautiful snow!

We have nothing, although it is a little cold here today.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

"mediating the dance between light & dark"... I like your words. Wonder who/what is watching me? Beautiful photos.
"the improbable gold" photo from Saturday looks like pearls in a bundle, stunning!

steven said...

hello dan - i think you understand what i mean dan when i read these words. it's a life of unpacking the trappings of whatever has attached itself to me. a life of taking on the unnecessary. now to drop it off and see what is really there! thankyou for the haiku. steven

steven said...

hello delwyn! - i sometimes read sections of a book about the shadow as jung saw it. it helps me understand the shadow's place in my self. shadows - wisdom yes. steven

steven said...

thankyou very much dave. steven

steven said...

hi barry - the snowpack has shrunk with the lack of snow and also the relatively mild temperatures but everything is still covered in snow. it's hard and dry. have a peaceful day barry. steven

Elisabeth said...

So this is your 'self portrait' Steven' as cryptic as any I have read and every bit as enthralling. Thanks.

steven said...

hello lizzy! thankyou for your kind words. i love the idea of a bundle of pearls and when i look at the images i can see that. have a lovely warm day. steven

steven said...

hi elisabeth - not so much a self-portrait as a moment of insight which has been with me for as long as i can remember. i can watch myself at times - when i am teaching i listen to myself speaking and feel the flow of exchange between steven and his class. the larger piece though is my awareness of having taken on other people's thoughts and ideas, belief systems and whatever else felt good at the time and making them my own. i feel a deep discomfort with that because it's lazy and untrue. in the post i'm asking the question i ask myself: what's left if you take everything you've borrowed, begged or stolen from other people away from "yourself"? it's a big life question. a sunday question!!! have a lovely day. steven

Anonymous said...

You got snow too. Looks like as much as we got. We got 12 inches with wind so we have monumental drifts. My daughter and wife got the drive way opened and now where the snow was shoveled it is like solid ice as the temps dropped to 9° F this morning. I am ready for spring.

ellen abbott said...

wonderful steven.

steven said...

hi abe - yep we've got snow but it's old snow. probably a month or so old. it's made up of tiny granules because there've been so many melts and freeze ups and then tiny snowflakes falling for ten minutes or so and then sunshine. it's been an easy winter compared to last winter which was from mid october through to april. i'm glad for the snowcover though. if it has to be cold then i want to see snow! steven

Joanna said...

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me.... Odd, I was just thinking about this RLS poem the other day. Snow and shadows. The dark and the light. Steven, you always make me think. Have a lovely day in the snow.

Deborah said...

Steven, I was intrigued by the comment you left on Bonnie's blog today (Rilke) so came by to look at yours.
Lovely photos and poetry.

Golden West said...

Te phrase "pure as wind drive snow" comes to mind.

Jennifer said...

Steven, elegantly put question. Thank you for posing it today; it's a good thing for me to think about today.

steven said...

hi joanna - it must be tough looking at icy, snowy, wintry pics when you're enjoying the fruits and sunrays of the very far south!!!! it's actually really sunny here today and if you stand in the right spot it's warm. beautiful winter warm with little ribbons of cold breeze like you wish for when it's really warm!!! thanks for your thoughtful comment. steven

steven said...

hi deborah and welcome! bonnie's choice of rilke is one of the richest in terms of inspiring thinking i've come across in a long while. she's a very thoughtful and thought-inspiring blogger! steven

steven said...

hello golden west - the day those pics were taken was one of the coldest we've had in some time. it was twenty eight below zero. the wind was whipping across the fields. it actually hurt. but there was a quiet space in behind some bushes and trees where these pics were taken. have a peaceful evening. steven

steven said...

hi jennifer - i love the idea of elegance a lot. i first heard it used as meaning something other than visual deportment when a skateboarder friend described a move as "elegant". he meant it in the sense of clever, graceful, out-of-the-box, not obviously over the top. so thankyou for using it here in your comment! have a lovely evening. steven

steven said...

thankyou ellen!!! steven

hope said...

He'd still be a kind, gentle soul with an eye out for art in the everyday world.

Still, like you just the way you are.

Friko said...

I absolutely love what you do, Steven.
I've just been back over the last few posts and I am amazed at your photographs and the words you use to illuminate them - or is it vice versa - you are both a word-smith and a picture painter. That's the beauty of blogging, we can take very little and sometimes even nothing at all and make an extraordinary something out of it.

If you have any time at all - do come and join us; it doesn't have to be often.

I want all my favourite people to come together - totally selfish of me, I know.

Linda Sue said...

Your photos are beathtaking! Especially the second one - it looks French...Shadows are sometimes the most interesting part of objects, of people of minds.Living in the rainy PNW we reare have shadows show up so when they do it becomes more dimentional and interesting. - the thing behind the thing...LOVE your words and photos that go with- Such a treat!

♥ Boomer ♥ said...

We should all step away and observe ourselves; perhaps learn a thing or two. Nicely shared, Steven.

Alaine said...

Self-diagnosis is good.

I hear that there might not be enough snow for some events at Vancouver and they trucking it in!

BT said...

What superb, thoughtful poems steven. I understand what you mean and have, as a result, wondered about myself, but too many years of taking bits and pieces of 'other people' are hard to shift. Like layers on an onion, I'm in there somewhere!

The shadow photos are beautiful. I, too, love shadows, they can be so surprising sometimes, unlike the obect whose shadow is depicted.