(for Newton Garver)
cross-country skiing with you
back in the woods around
the East Concord New York, home,
the snow puffy with light powder
as we cut through the evergreens.
in my early 30’s
I could care less,
challenging, fiercer every second
and sweating mightily
even in the below zero temperature.
There we were:
two Quakers, intensely spiritual,
totally committed to silence and its meanings,
determined now to beat the other,
to pummel the other one
into the swirling snow drifts,
curling around trees,
overcome with hot desire.
what we cannot speak about,
the end of language and the beginning of understanding,
is this ferocious competitive edge,
a way of being that leads
to a bottom pool of silence,
arguments and propositions be damned,
a truth that remains in the body
just part of the breathing,
pushing blood in and out,
the grammar and silence of Wittgenstein
flowing and going together?
Stanford J Searl, Jr., is a member of Santa Monica Meeting (PYM). This poem is from his book, Quaker Poems: The Heart Opened.