I am Jerusalem, or: Nothing

‘Beyond Meaning or The Resolution of Opposites’

– a d’Verse poetics prompt


For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

-Wallace Stevens, ‘The Snow Man’
Harkened through the snows of New Jersey,
Heeded through the storms of Cleveland,
Purest nothing, on nothing, absorbed me,

Sheerest nothing, on nothing, I am
Upon nothing, nothing I, one/dering
About nothing, not touched much by snow,

Where nothings, together, not nothing,
Where something within ached to go,
Nothing, listened, through blustery blizzards,

Whispering, nothing, nothing, here I am
Through cold nothing, I heard, I shivered,
Something, mine, called [from] Jerusalem.

The prompt

The above poem is my take on d’Verse’s ‘Beyond Meaning or The Resolution of Opposites’ prompt.

The writing challenge: We were to focus on the theme of ‘paradox’ and select one of the following to build poems around, of which I selected #2:

1. Here are some lines from Paul Dunbar’s The Paradox:  – select ONE and build your poem around it.

  • I am thy fool in the morning, thou art my slave in the night.
  • I am the mother of sorrows; I am the ender of grief;
  • I am the bud and the blossom, I am the late-falling leaf


2. Take the last lines of Wallace Stevens’ The Snow Man and write a poem that is imbued with the existential paradox implied there. [the meaning of which is the ridding of our usual human observation and viewing winter as a ‘man of snow’ not a snowman! (more HERE)]

  • For the listener, who listens in the snow, And, nothing himself, beholds nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

53 thoughts on “I am Jerusalem, or: Nothing”

  1. Wow David, this is very beautiful… Really lovely. It’s spiritually touching. A wonderful paradox. Nothing has definitely became something 😊🌹

  2. A beautiful response to the original poem. I actually enjoyed the repetition…sort of trancelike when reading. I found the final stanza very powerful.

  3. It must have been nothing to write this one. 😆
    This line grabbed me~
    “Purest nothing, on nothing, absorbed me,”

    Amazing to be grabbed by nothing.
    Seriously, it reminded me that most of our material world is made up of space, of nothing.
    I like the concepts you are weaving in this one.

  4. A little late for the comments but I enjoyed reading this one. It has even more impact when read aloud – the repetition is delightful to the ear and the tongue!

  5. David —
    The snow as the metaphor of nothing/not nothing, and you “one/dering/About nothing, not touched much by snow” yet “here I am,” hearing, responding, called “[from] Jerusalem.” Paradoxical, yes, but pointing to a reality that is at the heart of it all. The spiritual element is very alluring to me.


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