Dec 23, 2012

"Winter Love" by Linda Gregg

Winter Love by Linda Gregg : The Poetry Foundation

 Because of the season, I wanted to post a poem that was pleasant but not mindlessly dripping sugar, the way so much of the holiday oozes syrup and celebrates noise and stuff-gathering .

I came across Linda Gregg’s “Winter Love,” a quiet and modestly affirmative poem that calls us to experience and cherish small things, like chimes stirred over a heating vent. I also like the opening implication that decorating silence might be a natural human urge, but something essential in the speaker (or all humans?) leads to simplification rather than decoration. Does that process boil down to entropy, or is it a maturing awareness of what is beautiful because it is fundamental and plain?

Christmas nest-featherers and pile-builders—we’ve heard it before:  listen up and pare down. We should savor what’s left of our tea. We can look at the gifts already in the room and just outside the window, even if they’re not the perfect strength or temperature. That’s the way to pad the odds for Happy Holidays.

Red-Tile Roof

Little Birch Tree

Winter Love by Linda Gregg : The Poetry Foundation


WAS said...

I made the mistake of looking at your lucid interpretation (and those phosphorescent photos) before reading the poem. It seemed you quite captured the implications and spaces in the, as you say, “modestly affirmative poem,” presenting a very interesting picture of how gift by gift we lose the gratefulness required of Christmas. But then I read the poem again, and realized that it provides no real information about what is going on. The first sentence may or may not be nonsense. The second sentence is all nuance with no payoff. The third, fourth and fifth are of course unrelated to what came before, and they are so ordinary that they seem to scream with an undetected symbolism. All that is the magic of the poem, for it is no more “about” something than a painting by Matisse. If we were to learn this is about the holidays, or a breakup, or depression, or writing a poem, or (god forbid) a death, it would make it all just too bad. Instead, we have the eeriness of how we spend our moments laid out and clipped like winter bushes to the point that we want to know so much more even though we know another word would be too much in the silence.


RuneE said...

Since entropy (always increasing) is a measure of complexity rather and simplicity, I rather doubt that. But the poem fitted just the same. Not to mention the photos :-)

A Merry Christmas to you and your dear ones!

PS Thank you for the nice comment about the photo. He is our first grandchild, then three weeks old, carried on the breast of his mother, our eldest daughter. Five weeks later one of her sisters had a sweet little girl. It has been a busy autumn :-)

Stickup Artist said...

Will return after the festivities for commenting. Just stopped by to wish you a Very Merry Christmas! Love the photos!

Banjo52 said...

Bill, thanks for the ideas! You've given me so much to think about that I'm considering a full response in the form of a new post. Your last sentence is especially terrific--"clipped like winter bushes" . . . "another word would be too much in the silence." Wow.

RuneE, kind words as always. Thanks. I probably shouldn't be throwing around words like "entropy," knowing as little science as I do. If not a simplification, does it make sense to think of entropy as an opposite to "decorating"?

Banjo52 said...

Stickup, good deal. And thanks.

Ken Mac said...

Merry Christmas!

Banjo52 said...

You too, Ken.

Hannah Stephenson said...

Dang it! I wrote a comment and it didn't seem to save.

I said something about connecting elegance to the abandoned--about how odd and interesting that is. I also wondered---could this poem have been called something else? (could we sub in another concept or noun here?).

Banjo52 said...

Hannah, interesting. Especially when a title is an abstraction, I wonder what the other possibilities are.

Lovers' Lane