Prose and poem: Eric G Wilson and Graham Urquhart

Image: Birgit Whitmore

 

Prose: Observing Crystals of Ice
Eric G Wilson

“Observing crystals of ice – as Thoreau does on cold Concord mornings – one sees geometrical patterns and wonders if such patterns exist in more complex, less apparent modes in clouds or eagles. Staring through the translucent symmetries, one further suspects that things are essentially transparent, that primal monads are windows. One moreover speculates – still looking at the ice – on how these crystals combine to form a uniform surface. He guesses that there is a central power that unifies while differentiating, which is attractive and repulsive. He looks up at the frost-covered leaves. He finds in their green reticulations patterns similar to those in the ice.

He marvels: Maybe in the stars are further homologies to these earthly analogues. He returns to the ice. He sees through it to the bottom of the pond. He sees in it his own face. He is in the ice; he is above and below the freeze. It dawns on him. He, too, is similar in kind to the ice, different only in degree. He also is a window to and reflection of the whole.”

Quotation from The Spiritual History of Ice: Romanticism, Science and the Imagination Eric G. Wilson Palgrave Macmillan, 2003

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snow Heads South as Severe Weather Cripples Scotland*

They say that each
and every snowflake
is unique.
A fleeting existence
of transmuted form,
that can be returned
to the ether,
by an outstretched hand
or a child’s tongue.

And yet…
this mute landscape,
of impotent planes,
cars and trains,
reminds us:

We are only part of Nature.
Not apart
in our cocooned,
wired, high-tech world,
that can only
curl up and whimper
unable to comprehend
the collective force
of this beautiful whiteness.

January 2011.

* Channel 4 News headline, Tuesday 7th December, 2010.

 

Graham Urquhart