Thursday, 6 May 2010

Pouring in Purity

Here's something Scottish poet Ranald MacDonald understands:
I followed your footsteps
in the snow.
The compressed tread
of your boots
formed the soles
of an upside-down
man-of-snow,
his head buried
deep in earth,
the stars
pouring in purity
through his ears,
as they only can
for a man
born of snow.
I found this superb poem in an old copy of Stand magazine (Autumn 1991, p.74): an expertly evocative central image of inversion, chiming sciencefictionally (for me, of course) as the world turned upside down and thereby revealed in wonder. What MacDonald understands, in other words, is that the stars are a kind of snow, falling immeasurably slowly through our upended selves. We're all, of course, made of snow.