Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The most beautiful cloud bank past sunset - I was astonished -
it was as though the Catskills ridge, usually blue, low, and mellow, like a placid sea, had risen up in a peaceful way - keeping its placid distance - like a whole new mountain range, one that had eclipsed the ancient Catskills, or perhaps huge ocean breakers,
a whole line of them, a front - a weather front - perhaps that's what that was -

what meteorologists blandly standing before a board
refer to as "the front moving in"
only these clouds weren't that -- it was some extraordinary visual effect perhaps a result of Arctic air masses "stuck in Canada and Alaska" on a collision course with silly low-pressure systems from the South that created this huge banking ridge rising up

not like a tsunami
because with those devastating waves
the water recedes dramatically first
then comes up on land
but in a creepy way, not some huge tall
most awesome surfing wave ever as on the North Shore of Oahu
but rather in a way that runs its fingers all the way up
and further past most tides or washes of waves do
I think of those video images of the improbable tsunumi in Japan
last year
and the wave - a single one, as I recall, or one at a time
ran up the shoreline - okay so far so good - so what
then kept going, rightward & rightward on my little TV screen
without stopping, it just kept going
it came up the harbor, and swallowed a boat, and a bridge
and moved onto land
obliterating what mostly looked like parking lots
(but this was a mix of video images, cut together
because also it came, just as insidiously, and crept up the
gentle slope - of a densely populated town)
all those people - the ones who didn't manage to scramble themselves up
to the designated hillside "high-ground" top
where they observed in safety the monstrous wave swallow up their past
and it was a low small insidious wave
not dramatic at all
unlike the gorgeous and utterly safe effect
that I glimpsed from the aerie this evening, my love
and lowered the top half of the window
disturbing an asparagus-fern that's been reaching toward the light
through the slats
and snapped a couple of photos
first one, then, with just the slightest adjustment of my wrists
trying to decide what was most beautiful -
the clouds, or the sky, or the gorgeous black outlines of trees
(and Szymborska - ha! - had once observed a black outline of sun!
my childhood self feels vindicated! - aha! it does occur in nature, or in poetry after all!)
and I heard children calling
playing outside in the middle distance
hearing perhaps from where they were
the mysterious woman lowering her window
and snapping a picture without the flash
of safely distant dramatic sky

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