Lovis Corinth, Walchensee, Schneelandschaft, 1919.
Molly Peacock’s poem “The Distance Up Close” appeared in our Summer 1983 issue. Her most recent book is The Paper Garden.
The Distance Up Close
All my life I’ve had goals to go after, goalsin a molten distance. And just the way snowsin the distance, dense and white among grovesof bare trees, lessen as I approach and shownot white, but a mix of mud and leaves among rowsof breathing trees, the fantasies that rosefrom my young mind, guarded against my foes’mocking by my own mocking, lessen. I knowwhat I’ve approached, and I am very frightened. It showsin my slipping face in the melting present. Goalsfar off are fire and ice, like a walk through snowtoward a blood-orange sunset. But there is noperfection like that in coming up close, nopurity in intimacy. Embracing the world, noseto brow with what we’ve got and lost, hugging old sorrowsas they fade into mud and leaves, in like shedding clothes,is like lovers saying, lets-take-off-our-clothes.The word is made flesh in their bodies: does is knows.The world is made flesh by the snowsfading, then merging into mud and leaves, goalsof long ago emerging among trees in rowsin a distance molten as the world comes up close.
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