Nancy: Remnants of ice flows (blocks sometimes several feet thick) may still be there in April, buried in the greening marsh grass.
The ice is barely breaking free
on the bay, floes stacking themselves
on ledges at low tide, volumes
of winter piled haphazardly, as children
might have left them, untidied
as I say, this has just happened
but already my mind has chosen
to superimpose the flash of light, of
open water on the marsh, on the
bay, the gabble of oldsquaws in the dark,
sorting out, pairing up,
yes, already I am leaping (as I did
once from ice to ice across the flood tide)
leaping to the first pea tendril
the heavy green massy tomato plants
starred with flowers, a chair
in the shade,
perfume of hay and nicotiana,
all this because it is coming
because piece by piece
the ice is tumbling free, floating
free and the sharp cold air is rich
with open marsh and mud.
Alan: Akshobhya, the Buddha of the East, whose emblem is the elephant... I’d like to thank Margaret Brooks and family for the story that seeded this poem.
om vajra akshobhya hum
the elephant sways and shuffles
in the dawn processional:
polished, gold-tipped, inevitable
amid the crowds and chanting.
Just in front, a small child
walks, proud and singular;
then trips, sprawling, arms
delicate as lily stems
flung out, helpless.
The beast, unable
to change stride,
cups an immense foot
and touches the earth
in two places, bridging
her fragile bones,
walks on, imperturbable.
She springs up, laughing
and crying, the tiny glass
bangle flashing on her wrist,
a mirror of blue water,
a circle unmarred.