Pink and white carnations—one desires
So much more than that.
“The Poems of Our Climate”
to Minnesota? say friends
in L.A., in New York.
They try not to sound rude,
but they fail;
their voices soar and drop
like ill-flown kites in spotty wind.
They think we are out of our minds.
How can I tell them, how I longed for change,
for so much more than that
simple southern California sky?
How can I say
how winter light lifts off the snow,
and bouncing off ceilings, off walls,
rings round the room;
how welcome even winter’s early dark is
to me, so tired of
San Diego’s tedious, uninflected day?
They cannot see
how black the spring fields lie,
level in the light of late afternoon
between me and the sun;
how they smolder, gold and brown,
when I turn my back on that wide light.
Here, while cold still clenches us
in its numbed fist,
the day opens at both ends.
here, the slow perpetual growth of day
gains urgency in March when
the earth, lumbering towards the equinox,
earns sudden grace:
the pace picks up and
celestial gears shift:
widens the eye,
the lens of the sky opens, opens—
It flashes down in summer storms;
lightning tests for life—
are you there? then
At two a.m.
we stumble room to room, slamming windows
shut against the rain, then back to bed
where we lie
to the weather.
The earth wheels away from the sun,
and the trees turn after;
losing its heat, they steal its hues.
Under grey skies a yellow birch
casts light, and
up once and out,
quenched by rain.
Spring, an unremembered dream,
veils the back of the mind.
The year’s shape, perceptible—
lay your hand on the sleeper’s chest
and feel it rise,
The sleeping earth rolls over
twice a year, in spring and fall
That barest sleeping sigh,
the shifted shoulder—
It nearly knocks me down,
the speed of its spin.
I stand, legs braced,
head to the wind:
and the wind roars.
Another one I wrote years ago. Good to remember in this endlessly extended winter.