Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Gifts \ Waiting It Out

Alan: Here’s what happens when you mash an old carol through the sieve of incident.
Christmas Gifts
The fleur-de-lis
tracks of the grouse
betray a certain nobility
and superciliousness that,
here in the USA,
we associate, I have to say,
with the French.
Yet this bird that the locals
call "partridge," or more accurately
"pah-tridge" (though it has never
to my knowledge appeared
in our pear tree but rather
frequents the ornamental crab
in the turn-around
(in the snow at the base of which
I notice its footprints
just before dusk
this short afternoon)
where, the time I flushed it,
not knowing it was there
(the time I told you about
when it shot off and
flew straight and at full
speed into our gazebo
screen, bulging it, tearing it
from the molding, and then,
like a wounded plane,
banked and came in
low and wobbling
on a last strafing run
right at me,
so I dropped
as if in sudden prayer
to my knees)
it scattered the calling birds),
looks nothing at all
like a French hen.
Nancy: The long isolation of storm.  Whatever you need, you must find here.
Waiting It Out
In the night, or just before dawn,
fog blew in, heavy.
Heavy hoarfrost on the trees.
At ten it began to snow.
Somewhere, the goshawk waits it out,
but the raven sings.
Garok!  Garok!  across the field
and into the spruce.
We wait.  Day.  Night.
Another day.
The tide may be in, or out,
under the ice, who can tell?
There may be a lane
        fence scratches the snow
        a barn roof.
It’s so easy, after a mile of this,
to be surprised by color,
by rose hips and a squirrel,
or three alder leaves.
After a mile, and no mail,
it’s already dusk.
The alder twig, in a brass pot,
looks Japanese,
and the leaves match the pot,
but your drawing is black and white.
You put away your pencil, and light the lamps.
Another night.
Snow, still.
Closing the cabin door,
I can hear the lighthouse out on the head:
just waiting it out.

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