The cat sits on the back of the sofa looking
out the window through the softly falling snow
at the last bit of gray light.
I can’t say the sun is going down.
We haven’t seen the sun for two months.
I am sitting in the blue chair listening to this stillness.
The only sound: the occasional gurgle of tea
coming out of the pot and into the cup.
How can this be?
Such calm, such peace, such solitude
in this world of woe.
I have come to appreciate David Budbill’s spare and thoughtful poems. As his daughter said, he lived ‘a remote yet engaged life’, in rural Vermont, in ‘contemplation of life’s big questions’. I find his poems simple but far from simplistic.
You cat-lovers will recognize the iconic image of your cat sitting on the back of the sofa watching the softly falling snow at the end of the day. As to that last bit of gray light, he refuses to admit that the sun is setting. It’s more that We haven’t seen the sun for two months, – winter in northern climes. But, he adds, Who cares? so what?
He tells us the lack of sunshine is irrelevant when one is listening to this stillness, only the sound of tea being poured into a cup, a music you may well recognize. And here is the question: How can this be? The sound of such stillness on a January afternoon: Such calm, such peace, such solitude / in this world of woe. How is it possible this quietude exists in the tumult of this world?
I would say that it exists in this poem; may you find the solace of calm and peace and solitude in your days.