My son is 8 and although he knows a lot about the world, I'm sometimes surprised at what I assume he knows and doesn't. We had another 2" of snow overnight on Tuesday and therefore (somewhat absurdly) a 2-hour delay on Wednesday, so we had time to gear up and head out to the bus stop half-an-hour early. It wasn't great snowball snow--fine and flaky and extra-sparkly in the sun--so we found other ways to amuse ourselves, like shaking snow off branches (and is there anything more beautiful than dark branches frosted in sparkling snow against a blue, blue sky?) .
"Look at all the buds," I said. "They know spring will come again even though it doesn't feel like it now." I bothered to say it out loud because this knowledge added to my hopeful, sunny, fresh-air feeling. Duncan looked up and said, "What buds?" You know, like he'd never heard of buds. I pointed out the little textured teardrops at the end of each twig on the--actually I don't even know what kind of tree we were standing under. "Each of those is a tiny beginning of a leaf, just waiting for the weather to warm up." "Really? Cool," he replied, and went to jump daringly into the snow from a wall which is rumored to contain a snakehole.
There was time when I eschewed exclamation marks as a sign of weak writing in need of bolstering by flashy punctuation. Frank O'Hara changed my mind about that (and has inspired many others), and see how WCW uses one surprisingly! in this otherwise softspoken poem. I think it renders perfectly the feeling we have when we can cross something big off our to-do list, relax and store up wisdom. Hm. I miss that feeling...
by William Carlos Williams
All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.
Enjoy Poetry Friday today with Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids--and congratulations indeed to Joyce Sidman for her Newbery Honor medal--it'll look great on the cover of Dark Emperor. Go Poetry!