winter: the sun setting

5:01 PM Posted by James Owens



…. The sun is lower in the sky,
And as one turns towards what had felt like home,
The windows start to flicker with a loveless flame,
As though the chambers they concealed were empty. Is this
How heaven feels? The same perspective from a different room,
Inhabiting a prospect seen from someone else’s balcony
In a suspended moment---as a silver airplane silently ascends
And life, at least as one has known it, slides away?

….The evening air feels sweeter. The moon,
Emerging from a maze of clouds into the open sky,
Casts a thin light on the trees. Infinitely far away,
One almost seems to hear---as though the fingers of a solitary giant
Traced the pure and abstract schema of those strings
In a private movement of delight---the soundless syllables’
Ambiguous undulations, like the murmur of bees.


John Koethe
from "Sunday Evening"


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Thank you to ANNE for this water tower, at her blog, miscellanéesanne

17 comments:

Renee said...

I like this. It reminds me of a big pushpin holding the scenery together on a large bulletin board. :-)

Krista said...

What a beautiful photo, and an interesting landmark. What is it? I've never seen anything quite like it.

lissa said...

somehow this pic makes me think of summer is just around the corner

James said...

I've never seen anything like it. It's a very nice photo.

Anne said...

Is this sort of tower-bowl a reserve for water, dating from the 60's? We have some in France; they are called a "château d'eau". I'll try to find one and to publish a photo soon.
The text is beautiful.
Have a nice day!
Anne

Sorlil said...

I love how the grey/silver reaches up to bronze, just like the landscape. The 'murmur of bees' is wonderful at the end of the poem.

James Owens said...

Renee: I like your perspective Now I am glad it is there, to keep us from flying off the board -- out into space?


Krista: It is a water tower, though an exceptionally graceful one, I think. I just happened to be driving past the other day when the last sunlight was hitting it just right. Naturally I had to stop.


Lissa: Summer is coming -- or spring is, anyway. Don’t tell anyone -- since it seems like a betrayal to all those who are eager for warmer temperatures and flowers -- but I am always sad to see the winter ending.


James: Thank you. It is a beautiful scene, though it is actually on the grounds of a large farm the county operates as a juvenile detention center -- a sort of low security prison for teenaged offenders. I wanted to find a shot that showed that tension, but it was impossible. No matter how you looked at it, this seemed just a peaceful winter evening....

James Owens said...

Anne: Yes, this is a water tower, though “château d'eau” is certainly more evocative, and that is how I will think of it from now on :-) I’d like to see a photo of one of yours. Une belle journée à toi!

James Owens said...

Sorlil: John Koethe is a fine poet, though his poems are mostly too long to present comfortably on a blog. He’s very indebted to Wallace Stevens (and Koethe is a philosophy professor, a specialist in Wittgenstein) --- and this poem is an answer to Stevens’s “Sunday Morning.” That whole last section is just a delight to read aloud -- “ambiguous undulations” and “the murmur of bees”!

S. Etole said...

the transition from light to darkness and darkness to light speaks of its environment in a detention center ...

James Owens said...

Susan: Thank you. That is a profound reading of the image.

clo said...

coucou james...:o)
une etrange silhouette tres futuriste....on se croirait sur une autre planete...remarques la notre est deja tres bien pourvue dans ce domaine la....
si je venais d'un autre coin de l'univers je trouverai surement beaucoup de nos constructions etranges....
j'aime le rayon de soleil qui donne de jolies couleurs a ce chateau d'eau...
il y en a un tres ancien pres de chez moi...je le prendrai en photo un de ces jours...il est tout en pierre ,c'est un puit aerien fait pour recolter l'eau par un systeme assez ingenieux....
des qu'il fait beau je le prendrai en photo...
a bientot James...:o)

Claire said...

"the soundless syllables"

i heard those very sounds today, walking alongside a lake backdropped against snow covered peaks.

your photography is gaining so much depth. really enjoying the progression i witness.

James Owens said...

Clo: Bonjour! C’est un château d’eau ou un vaisseau spatial? Qui sait? J’aime que les photographies puissent révéler l’étrangeté des choses qu’on voit tous les jours sans les remarquer. C’est une question de contexte…. Je voudrais voir le tien, si tu en prendras une photo.... Bises!

James Owens said...

Claire: That walk sounds like a great place for pictures. I think the syllables are always there, if only we can find the time and the right mind to listen. I wish I could hear them more often :-)

veredit said...

Grandios!!!
The sky has something promising, very positive - as if everything, absolutely everything is possible. Kisses 4u

James Owens said...

Isabella: Everything is possible ... the sky keeps trying to tell us this, but we only listen now and then. Bussi!