Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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a haiku for midsummer heat with notes

heat blankets the skin
my bones lay it down against
the thought of winter

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the extremes of summer and winter call to each other; one recent february was so unremittingly cold that I vowed to remember it come summer, and not complain!


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really

outside my door the guard has changed
a day of wet and gloomy gray
whisked off by racing clouds
abdicated winter steps in minuet retreat
the sullen blue gray glow of rained on slate
is caught by short lived slants of morning sun
and wind, a small all-hands treetop voice
is loath to roar (for now)
the dripping cloak that wraps this house
begins to dry and shed small gleams
the morning raven fly by
lacking winter urgency
green daffy blades push up
brash in return, migrating from the soil
no longer threatened accidents
almost time to prune and clear a way
for the celadon and smell of spring

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I’m mindful that March in New Hampshire is fickle, and for a good long while snow will be a possibility. the path to spring is never straight up here.


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aftermath

in the end the day
brought almost nothing
waiting for the thrash of winter’s fist
to stop us cold
a flick of indecisive wrist
arrived instead
a shadow of much bigger kin
spewing this and that
a weaving mincing minuet
danced by a drunken storm
that in the end
picked up its skirts
and ran away to sea
shouting gaily
flipping off
the solemn
weather seers

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a bit of tongue in cheek this morning. we got off easy yesterday during a noreaster that could have been much worse.


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waiting for the hunter

many days since I have seen a moon
both night and dawn obscured by cloud or rain
days of leached out richness
lacking diamond clustered white
and so creep fingered winter reaches out
to shackle and restrain my thoughts
till sun regains the upper hand
and tosses me the keys that come with
fledgling green and tender smells of earth
(around an oxbow bend of time and out of sight)
tonight at last, we have thick clotted blots of snow,
flake armies blanketing the world, scouting
morning’s aftermath of shapes stood bright
against fresh blue
a constant roar of moving trees,
teeth of the north wind auto harp,
deep ink heaven once again blown clean
diana’s slivered waxing moon
emcees emerging stars, until he comes,
a reaching leap of arms and sword and strength
his belt the perfect anchor for my eyes,
standing watch, protector of the frozen skies

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I look for Orion each winter, knowing he stands watch over our frozen nights.


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lemonade vignettes

even though the days
have turned a corner
and the sun shines boldly
on my pillow once again,
I am stalled in
longbone chilling thoughts
lusting after green and heat
until bursting out to tramp
the blues away, I hear
the white pines talk,
waving over snowbound roots,
the creaking cold of boots
on crystal flakes,
see the angled sun
illuminating dusted white,
a swirl of snow
blown off a tree,
a swarm of frozen gnats
in winter air,
a multitude of hungry
upside down buff teardrops,
our mourning doves in
bundled rows awaiting seed,
ruby pendant berries,
blinks of color over monochrome,
faithful evergreens
protecting buried nubs of spring,
I turn for home
longing sated once again,
and know I will regret their
passing


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the new path

while colors fade and drop
as browns and grays emerge
upright, leafless, spare
the sun is finding a new path
closed off before the change
this new light is a gift
an opening of space and beam
delights forgotten while
the world was green
there is the gold of larches in the marsh
a roof line now exposed, a barn
or field with open sightline to the hills
all these a balm to ease our journey
into winter, and the snow

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my cousin, the writer Jack Skow, gave me invaluable advice when I showed him this. not sure if I got it right since then, but I’m trying!