The holidays have a way of thawing memories. For me, it’s often the playful days of my childhood that warm me. I was fascinated, back then, by the dagger-like icicles that hung from our roof, growing thicker, longer and more opaque with each cold day. My best friend and I shaped thrones and crowns from snow and bejeweled them with broken icicles that fell and fragmented. And we’d compete to acquire the biggest and best icicle to become our scepter. This meant hanging out from the second-story window to find the largest icicle within a torso’s reach, and to break it off from the roof’s edge while keeping ourselves from falling, the icicle intact.
But that was not all we did with icicles. Our most delicious invention was using them as a “Fun Dip.” We poured Jello mix in a bowl, dipped a hand-sized icicle into it, then licked the sugar off. This would entertain us, with our red or purple stained mouths, for hours.
I remember the intrigue, as the icicle would stick to my gloved hand, then glisten as it began to melt from my handling of it. The distortion and disappearance of its solidness were sad, though I knew it was simply returning to its original form. Now I realize I was witnessing the organic nature of elements, which, in an obscure way, brings me to our theme for this Winter Quarterly.
Poetry is like an icicle–refractive, and capable of presenting in solid form what is elemental and basic to our survival. It reinvents our thinking and understanding. The icicles of my childhood sustained me on many winter days,
This collection of poetry demonstrates poetry’s reinvention and ability to sustain our senses in an ever-changing world. Sean Lause’s “the gift” tells us through the eyes of a child about the power of observation. As does the dog in Susan Cavanaugh’s “Watch Dog” who steps gingerly around leaves on the pavement baked into the shape/of cupped hands. Poetry garners a simple observation and carries it through a realm of rediscovery. Tara Betts knows of the Hidden possibilities cradled in palms that a simple domino holds.
Clarissa Adkins’s “Nature Hike at Ship Harbor Nature Trail” explores wonderment, the basic element for reinvention, writes of how ferns can soften sun/into such a lenient lantern. And then we have “Marquez Night” by Lillo Way that brings us into a yellowish thing that calls itself a summer sky, and leads us through sinking stinking still air, has us listening for a ghost voice calling like a manatee mother to her missing children.
Poetry not only reinvents, it also rediscovers, reveals, reclaims, relives, and rejoices.
We invite you to enjoy this winter’s poetry icicles, and to revel in their meltings.
Christine and Sarah