Ralph Skip Stevens
Bio Note: I got interested in chaos theory when my older son, Chris, used it as the name of his computer business in Seattle. It started to get into poems in the past year or so. The first of these two serves as preface for my book, Water Under Snow, forthcoming from Wipf and Stock. The other came along the way poems often do, when I was looking out the window, which is perhaps something predicted by chaos theory.
A butterfly flaps aimlessly across a field in China and a dust storm gathers over the Great Plains. It’s not what anyone would call music, the cries of crows and gulls, frantic and random, over the beach at sunrise and I’m no translator but there might be a language, syntax of wings, black and white, pulling the littoral into words about what lies on and under rocks and waves, a cloud of confabulation that for all I know speaks of things succulent and salty while in a distant sanctuary organ music rises in response to these hymns, these hungry cries.
And Who’s to Say a Storm
not just any but the one delivering an inch of rain on a farm in Kansas – who will say that storm doesn’t take direction from the weathercock swinging on the barn ridge, flashing when it turns in the wind? All this chaos, atmospheric disturbance hidden where we create the predictable, pattern of streets laid out in spokes and grids, easy navigation for emergency vehicles, and in the recipe for biscuits that never flake, the routine that brings me home in time for the six o’clock news – chaos embedded in the ordinary, behind the squirrel that just slipped from branch to branch and did not fall as the wind subsided. And while I’m not looking it could sneak by in the shadow of my wife who opens a shoebox of old photos, and laughs, remembering trick-or-treaters at the door, twenty Halloweens ago. This murmuration, confusion of storms and of these odds and ends, like Facebook notifications popping up on the screen – starlings that somehow stick together in one swirling cloud.
©2021 Ralph Skip Stevens
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