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The Book of Job.

Posted 11-27-2010 at 10:46 AM by Steve Bucknell
Updated 02-01-2011 at 11:28 AM by Steve Bucknell
A different light from a different source of reflection seeps in through the dark curtains. I look out and it has snowed in my sleep. The black back lane cuts through it so the covering is not deep.

I go downstairs and Sam leaps onto the table. I open the curtains and we are both startled as the heavy heads of horses stare back at us from over the hedge. The snow has brushed and settled on each green and shadowed surface of the garden

My footsteps cross the lawn to the ice window. It is intact, but has thinned in the bright air of yesterday. I have to wipe a layer of snow from its lens. I check The Book of Wonders deep in the heart of the holly tree. It is untouched by the snow and holds itself open , Redgrove’s words relishing the atmospherics as always.

A pied wagtail struts up and down the lawn, dipping and bowing as if this splendid whiteness was all his own work. I clear the birdbath and add fresh water.

In The Book of the Winter I find this passage from The Book of Job.I can just imagine a weatherman reading this out as the forecast after the evening news:

Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? Or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail,
Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?

By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth?
Who hath divided a water-course for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder;
To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherin there is no man;
To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the tender herb to spring forth?

Hath the rain a father? Or who hath begotten the drops of dew?
Out of whose womb came the ice? And the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it?
The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.

Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?
Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? Or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?



I wake between January and February in darkness and silence . No birds sing. Beside me is warmth and love but all I can think of is February, this short, dark month in the mouth with it’s silent letter “r”. What’s it there for? What is it doing? Making sacrifices, lighting candles, sending Valentine cards? It stands for rue, it stands for cold rain and more winter to come.

These words by Howard Moss pattern the silence:


The Silences


1


Now you are back at your window,
Where you live in a strange city,
Now I no longer see you,
Your face is slowly forgotten.

As you are forgetting to watch me,
And I will forget to remember
How lately alike was our wanting,
That wanting that ends in hurting.

Wherever you were, your presence
Still clings to all things in absence;
There is also the pain of touching
What you touched without ever knowing,

And the trees hold the rain in silence
As the rain makes the birds stop singing;
In the sea is a pool where the pressure
Of your body still seems to be moving.

Your body is still and is moving,
As I remove from each mirror
The frost where your face was reflected,
As if coldness could be abstracted.

Silence is pain. You hear it
Most when you cannot bear it
Tell me if you can bear it,
Far body and near spirit.



Howard Moss.from Finding Them Lost.Macmillan.1965.
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