The white of snowfall muffles
All, although it hides
A thread inside, a key
To a labyrinth that guides
Lost travelers back home,
The way a blank page shuffles
Everything unsaid
Into versions of infinity,
A hidden dome, an offing
Where revolves and grows,
Like waves at night, the aura,
The overtone of things unseen,
Shapes of the unknown,
That surround a hand, a string
Quartet, the aurora
Made obvious by night,
The universe’s bright debris
Hanging in the sky, a stalactite
Traced by energy,
Like iron filings by a magnet.
Mystery at the heart of things,
Mystery is the way
Underlying worlds set
Their deeper orbits into play,
The invisible but also huge
Trellises that spawn
A storm’s impelling centrifuge
Where drifting lives are drawn
Into nature’s whirling sieve,
The page’s human white where
Only cosmic dreams can live.


This is the opposite of the “picturesque” phenomenon, where people brought framed mirrors into the Yorkshire Dales, turned their backs on nature, and framed the desired view of the world in the mirror. By “framing” a sculpture in snow, the border opens up the secrets of the periphery. Nature becomes the frame, and the frame itself a mirror, a tabula rasa, where the periphery is peopled with our imagination, left blank for us to fill in.
In the film Forbidden Planet, the monster of the id was seen only when shot by the energy of lasers on the stair of the ship.
Mark di Suvero’s sculpture Beethoven’s Quartet, spinning slowly, almost whited out by a blizzard, in a film by Djuna Zupancic, becomes a blackboard on which we write our lives, our dreams, in the cosmic swirl of sky.
Like overtones that can’t be heard, or gamma rays that can’t be seen, our monsters and our angels are illuminated only by the miracles, the accidents of gravity, the way iron filings are organized by magnetism, or the Northern Lights are shaped by gravity.
Scientists have recently announced that bodies carry around with them auras, penumbras of dust, disease, and, I suppose, starlight: so magnetism, gravity, the invisible energy grid of the universe shape our destiny into fictions written by invisible facts. Our lives are written in the margins, in the hidden boundaries just over the edge of the world (where be monsters), in the blank canvas of a blizzard. Beethoven’s Quartet, revolving silently in that storm, is both engine and mirror of the cosmic energy that underlies our lives.