Ice

Sunlight on icy
ways, every way closed to
passage. Stay at home,

they warn, if you can.
Read hard books in a sunny
nook, and in the glare

contemplate evil,
radical, uncreated,
but real just the same.

If you trust yourself
to go out you will fall, most
likely, not to rise.

Don’t blame creation.
From a distance, the world of
ice is, well, sublime.

Townie

Say in extremis.
We are guilty as charged. Earth
witnesses her rape.

Will-to-power has
imagined its mortal limits.
Poets suck on loss.

We wait for the snow
that will shut this town down. To-
day, just a hard rain.

Beauty plays her hand.
In the half-light rain sparkles,
changing the subject.

Ooze

I suck on Hill’s line
‘Ageing is weirder than dy-
ing.’ Some ripe sentence!

A god’s distinction!
‘Weirder’ means other if you
know what I mean. Life

itself drips from the
sliced peach, the gold-red inner
surfaces. Beauty

maybe, life for sure.
And yet a fierce love of life
oozes from the pit.

Chorus

You feel the coming
snow as a change in how the
air touches your face.

Ironic caress.
The light holds its breath; a pause;
an intermission.

But we can’t walk out
before the show is over.
We are the chorus.

We are part of this,
relieved to be released to
our limited roll.

Dilate

Today’s lectio:
‘Old age yields to slackness in
the tuning of the

surface of things.’ Slack
the beauty of Les Murray’s
hospitable line:

Yes, I yield to that.
Promiscuity is grace
in an old man’s eyes.

We take it as it
comes. It soon goes. The quick smile
fades, softens, moistens,

embarrassed. Easy
come, easy go—-so dilate
the gifts of pleasure.

Heartland

I don’t believe it
when a poet as great as
Geoffrey Hill says the

‘heartland is heartless.’
It’s too slick. Valuelessness
projects the abject

self. The Earth suffers.
Love of life original
to our being here.

By ‘love’ I mean love
as other to ‘our loves.’ That
‘Is’ without image.

Is ontology
beyond the poet’s self? Be-
ing sings its heart out.

Temperance

Cold gray gritty day.
I watch the traffic, pour my-
self a second cup

of coffee. I miss
having a wife to go home
to, brute that I am.

I’ve been disciplined
not to make too much of big
things like life and death.

We live between them.
Surfaces matter. The small
pleasure of counting

syllables matters.
The playful flow of human
sounds engorges time.