Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Amber Schley Iragui © 2012
by John Updike 

The shadows have their seasons, too.
The feathery web the budding maples
cast down upon the sullen lawn

bears but a faint relation to
high summer's umbrageous weight
and tunnellike continuum—

black leached from green, deep pools
wherein a globe of gnats revolves
as airy as an astrolabe.

The thinning shade of autumn is
an inherited Oriental,
red worn to pink, nap worn to thread.

Shadows on snow look blue. The skier,
exultant at the summit, sees his poles
elongate toward the valley: thus

each blade of grass projects another
opposite the sun, and in marshes
the mesh is infinite,

as the winged eclipse an eagle in flight
drags across the desert floor
is infinitesimal.

And shadows on water!—
the beech bough bent to the speckled lake
where silt motes flicker gold,

or the steel dock underslung
with a submarine that trembles,
its ladder stiffened by air.

And loveliest, because least looked-for,
gray on gray, the stripes
the pearl-white winter sun

hung low beneath the leafless wood
draws out from trunk to trunk across the road
like a stairway that does not rise.

From Collected Poems 1953-1993
copyright © 1993 by John Updike. 

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In keeping with the theme of this coming Photo Friday--shadows, or specifically, shadow diptychs--I'm posting this beautiful poem for Poetry Wednesday. I haven't much else to say today, or else not the patience or time to write whatever I might have to say if I had the patience or time to figure it out. It's Wednesday, which is our cleaning day, our laundry day. Ike is at preschool and Genevieve is smearing yogurt all over herself, her highchair, and the wall. Charles is in Miami on business. I spend most of my lucid moments these days dreaming up new clothes to sew for the kids (which is to say, I do not have that many lucid moments). One of these days I plan to showcase all the clothes I've made for them now: two pair of pants for each of them, two capes, eight dresses and one blouse for Genevieve. What stands in the way of showing off any of this hard work is the photo shoots, trying to get Ike and Genevieve to stay still for long enough to get a decent shot, and in all the different outfits. We'll see if that ever happens.

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