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An Inadequate Explanation

Perhaps you have witnessed some happiness, which, although it had nothing to do with you, remained with you nonetheless. The sparrows I saw enjoying a shower-bath of snow-melt were on my mind for some days.  Throughout one afternoon following a snowstorm, snow that had been laid heavy on the upper branches had melted. Now every pine needle was laden with drops of water. Each individual droplet reflected the sun momentarily. Some broke into rainbows. I am not making this up, it was just that lovely to see. The drops of water were released from above by even one small feathered body alighting upon a branch, or by the brush of a wing.

The poem says it better. This is why we have them. Poems, I mean.

As with hyssop may be this poem’s most telling phrase, with its idea of blessing. In our daily lives and even in the briefest of encounters, we have the power to bless.

Late in the Winter

By mid-afternoon of a day late in the winter,
the snow has disappeared from the boughs
of the piney-wood hedge

and has left in its place large droplets,
all of them holding the sun. Here a dozen
sparrows flutter from one

low limb to the next, their slight weight
or brush of a wing sufficient to bless;
they send down as with hyssop
this early, prism’d rain.

“Late in the Winter” appeared in NEBRASKA LIFE Jan./Feb. 2012