HOUSE PLANTS AT ADVENT Taking an early turn Toward a yellow window, Their necks and chins are lit From below by the snow's echo Of the sun; the cold surface Of Earth rotating slowly Out of view toward country, Our children need us to know, More gently lit than that Where movie credits go. CHOIR Conflate your lungs, your body With oligotrophic air In the depths of a high church, Where the boys' voices flash By turns and school between The far white coamings And the ridged lake floor. ALL SAINTS' DAY, 1502 After the clear leaf lights, Before the brightening snows Settle the season, there's a long Quiet time of rain. It may be through this lens, Unwanted, but so untinted, That we most easily see Raw seasons of the past When God, like the lake beyond And far below the last Peat-topped escarpment, Materialized darker but clearer. If we were given arrows And long alder bows (These to bring deer Between friends and death), Often we would die. But, surviving, we Might find ourselves, like Durer, Given a windy, certain ardor: The thatch rotten, he knows He'll spend half November On the steep roof, sleet Choking the vulnerable hearth. Still, he sits quietly. A streaked bit of light Makes its spare way Through the leaded panes. Each hair must be Engraved on that young Hare whose coat might Turn at any moment. CATCHING SIGHT OF CHRISTIANITY Nearer death with each dawn's chill, All the illuminated fruits of fall have voices: Grotesque and visionary, gourds are counter-tenors; Turnips krummhorns; the giant Blue Hubbard Squash can only be the bass shawm; Wounded apples' mad bees the drone. In consort at the farm stand, ranged on risers Under the same hard-edged, gold-leaf light In which troubadours played for martyrdoms And coronations, theirs is a lay of contrast Between the brilliant pinions And unseen backs of angels' wings. ICED TEA Slowly stirring the air Below the chaise's arm, Hoping to contact the glass In its bulging puddle of neglect, The human arm shows By those blind arcs The joy of the reading mind. August, 1991 THE MEETING HOUSE IN WINTER A few jays stay, Prepared to out-steel The closing scrim of sky. Otherwise, all the blue, Yellow, red primary Birds are away with friends. Defensive, puffed like a huge Sparrow, a brown hawk Allows snow to collect. Soon, an inescapable Breath will swell and loft It south, too. It's a shaded, schematic beauty: Only the plainest-dressed - Woodpecker, nuthatch, crow - Could fail to tilt the landscape. Still, the woodpecker hides That brilliant red cockade.
Click here to return to the
Quaker Electronic Archive's Main Page.