Last Thursday, quite a few members of Geneseo’s English community took a breath as we listened to Joan Kane’s poetry. Not to my surprise, her poetry read aloud is as quiet as it is on the page. The natural imagery, icy but fluid, evoked senses and sounds of softness, of motherhood, and of peace, all occupying the space of the Doty Recital Hall and insulating it from the world outside. At one point in the reading I closed my eyes to feel the kiss of snow and the susurrations of moving water, along with woods and quiet air. I wanted to cry because in a world of so much uncertainty, I heard sounds and proof that the world was still moving around me. After the reading, I discovered that a few others felt the same.
These moments seem especially relevant now in the face of apparent chaos, and it felt extremely timely to be hearing these messages of life and of quiet contemplation at the dawn of a time filled with so much noise. I forget how much I learn when I stop and listen, like Joan Kane’s poems suggest we might do. As I write right now I look outside at snow whirling in the Onondaga field. As I was trying to do research earlier, one of my fellow RAs and I decided that we would go outside and walk into the white-covered and icy wind-whipped arboretum despite our responsibilities, and in that windy hour I spent roaming I was reminded of the word “katabatic” from “Force Majeur” and also of the second stanza of “Love Poem:” “If there was wind,/ I walked into it.”