It is well while looking at rocks
to have the roar of a river in one’s ears.
Or to see still-standing trees
through falling snow.*
[With the snow] each thing which had stood out,
crying in resistance to the wind,
now lapses and is lost in a pervasive still.
Bird, bush, mountain, animal, stick, and stone
—each is left to itself, alone,
as in timeless slumber.
The wildness is sealed in silence . . .
What blanches things visible,
blotting mass and form,
absorbing their very thinghood?
What in this obscuring is hushedly revealing?
What but the pure and secret presence that is snow? *
I weighed everything
by the measure of the silent presence of things,
clarified in the racing clouds,
clarified by the cry of hawks,
solidified in the presence of rocks,
spelled syllable by syllable
by waters of manifold voice,
and consolidated in the act of taking steps,
a meditation steeped in reality.*
*Henry Bugbee, “On The Philosophic Significance of the Sublime,” Philosophy Today, 1967; ** Bugbee, The Sense and the Conception of Being, PhD diss. 1947, UC Berkeley; ***The Inward Morning, 139.