Lambs that learn to walk in snow
When their bleating clouds the air
Meet a vast unwelcome, know
Nothing but a sunless glare.
Newly stumbling to and fro
All they find, outside the fold,
Is a wretched width of cold.
As they wait beside the ewe,
Her fleeces wetly caked, there lies
Hidden round them, waiting too,
Earth's immeasureable surprise.
They could not grasp it if they knew,
What so soon will wake and grow
Utterly unlike the snow.
It sifts from leaden sieves,
It makes an even face
It reaches to the fence,
On stump and stack and stem, —
It ruffles wrists of posts,
Denying they have been.
The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
World is crazier and more of it than we think,
And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.
Snow falling and night falling fast, oh, fast
In a field I looked into going past,
And the ground almost covered smooth in snow,
But a few weeds and stubble showing last.
The woods around it have it—it is theirs.
All animals are smothered in their lairs.
I am too absent-spirited to count;
The loneliness includes me unawares.
And lonely as it is, that loneliness
Will be more lonely ere it will be less—
A blanker whiteness of benighted snow
With no expression, nothing to express.
They cannot scare me with their empty spaces
Between stars—on stars where no human race is.
I have it in me so much nearer home
To scare myself with my own desert places.
LINES FOR WINTER
as it gets cold and gray falls from the air
that you will go on
the same tune no matter where
you find yourself—
inside the dome of dark
or under the cracking white
of the moon's gaze in a valley of snow.
Tonight as it gets cold
what you know which is nothing
but the tune your bones play
as you keep going. And you will be able
for once to lie down under the small fire
of winter stars.
And if it happens that you cannot
go on or turn back and you find yourself
where you will be at the end,
in that final flowing of cold through your limbs
that you love what you are.
A PATCH OF OLD SNOW
There's a patch of old snow in a corner
It’s not too late to submit artwork to Sac. Poetry Center for Gone Wild: An Art Show to Benefit Sacramento’s Wildlife Care Association; they’ll be accepting work from 10am-2pm today. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.
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