Winter Notes

Gregory Luce | Scene4 Magazine

Gregory Luce


Midwinter Spring

Northern Virginia, where I live, recently experienced its first significant winter storm in several years. Snowfall totals ranged from four to eight inches and it lingered for a few days while temperatures remained low. Eventually, though, sunshine and warmer temperatures did their work and the white carpet slowly withdrew.

I don't like cold weather and I like to take my snow in small doses. I do, however, enjoy watching it melt and the aftermath of this particular event brought a phenomenon I do like very much. Underneath the snow cover, the grass had turned green again, due to the blanketing effect of the snow holding warmth below, plus the extra moisture percolating into the soil. It put me in mind of T.S. Eliot's lines from Four Quartets:

"Midwinter spring is its own season
Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown,
Suspended in time, between pole and tropic."

("Little Gidding," lines 1-3)

Another, smaller, winter storm is expected this weekend and I'll keep those lines in mind.


One of the most vexed topics in the contemporary art and literary world is that of cultural appropriation. What is it, when is it acceptable and when is it an affront to marginalized cultures? Who if anyone is allowed to do it? Poet, critic, and teacher Paisley Rekdal wades into this controversy with her new book, Appropriate. Appropriately subtitled A Provocation, Rekdal provides few answers but asks the right questions. Ranging from White teens on Instagram posing in costumes characteristic of non-White cultures, to the fabrication of an ethnic or racial identity not one's own, to using dialects from cultural groups to which the writer doesn't belong, Rekdal judiciously weighs every instance without resorting to preconceived or received ideas or knee-jerk reactions.

Rekdal herself is bi-racial (Asian and Caucasian) and thus well positioned to consider this subject. I hope to write further about this book soon.

Against Silence

Frank Bidart is one of America's greatest living poets. At age of 78, his poems are as fresh and powerful and provocative as ever. In his most recent collection, Against Silence, which I read over the holidays, he continues to explore his themes—one might call them obsessions—of the necessary coexistence of love and hate, the inescapability of early family dysfunction, the constant inquiry into the recurrence of these throughout history. Despite his many books and the fact that he has won all the prizes, I still don't think he is as well-known as he should be.

Look for a full treatment of Bidart here soon.


Mind of Winter

Regard the purity

of fresh snowfall

under the icy moon

before sunlight washes
over and it crusts
and darkens to the color

of ash or soot.

The cold dry wind

sweeps over it

and whispers

forget forget forget

to hold nothing

in the mind

is everything.

(Originally published in Wild Word, Winter 2021.)

Enjoy the winter and remember that spring is coming.


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Gregory Luce | Scene4 Magazine

Gregory Luce is a Senior Writer and columnist for Scene4.
He is the author of four books of poetry, has published widely in print and online and is the 2014 Larry Neal Award winner for adult poetry, given by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Retired from National Geographic, he is a volunteer writing tutor/mentor for 826DC, and lives in Arlington, VA. More at: https://dctexpoet.wordpress.com/
For his other columns and articles in Scene4
check the Archives

©2022 Gregory Luce
©2022 Publication Scene4 Magazine





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