Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Prowler's Spring \ Too Long Cold

Nancy: Sometimes conversations lead to memories that surface as poems.  I once wrote a thank you to friends who "put their cat's paws against the dominoes of my mind.”

A Prowler's Spring

Be a prowler, be a hunter.
My father took my hand and we set out.

Be a searcher, be a learner.
We put on our boots and went hunting for spring.

The snow was deep.
There was ice on the water.

Papa?  I asked.
He smiled and said "there . . . and there".

Deep in the snow
Green leaves unfolding, green leaves and strange flowers.

Later I learned to find
Liverleaf under the oak leaves,
Anemone in the fencerow,
Mayflower hidden on the hillside

But best of all
Was when my father took my hand

When we went prowling together
Hunting for spring.

Alan: There’s a point every winter when we all begin to say, “enough,” and winter just smiles and bears down harder.

Too Long Cold

How many gaps have opened, this winter.
How many barns gone, their roofs stove in by snow
or flattened like card houses by that last big wind.
Homes burned: chimney fires, “fires of suspicious origin.”
Little gaps in the landscape: scorched trees
forlornly trying to cover their shame.

People are drummed unmercifully.
“The domestic violence project has been cancelled due to snow”
(we can see by the split lips who’s been practicing at home).
Men too young to have heart failure, do;
the old folks “just kind of run out of life,”
their patience gone, and we all (who can’t dream of death, ourselves)
read the obituaries first, then buy the papers for kindling.

People fall in on themselves like the barns,
worn out with adjusting to the gaps on the land, in their hearts,
hurting from not enough green, not enough smiles.

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