"I am 3/4ths Canadian, and one 4th New Englander - I had ancestors on both sides in the Revolutionary war." - Elizabeth Bishop

Thursday, January 2, 2020

New Year's Poem

Snow on the houses.
Houses on the empty street,
silence on the snow.

Each of them perfect.
Number Six, or Twenty-Eight,
(a double sonnet?) --

like those of language
stanza'd, with their doors opened
by the still unknown

occupant to whom
all letters come unaddressed,
slipshod stamps unstuck.

Lie back, passenger.
Gentle hallucinations
begin in the night

making room for you,
smoothing out your coverlet,
plumping your pillow.

All of them equal
the sum of their divisors,
however devised.

Verse devoid of hue,
scratchy, splintery, hairy
as Caliban was,

as this kimono
may have been, its sugar lift
aquatint formless

floating above snow,
before it settled and slid
in white hen's feathers

from old featherbeds
to cover if it but could
the twenty-eight lines

your double sonnets
left in Trollop's Washington
with your Prodigal

-- or even your Moose,
if a sestain were a line.
No.  Lincoln was right.

Calling a sestain
a line doesn't make it one
-- nor a tail a leg.

                                     1 January 2020
                                                    28 Moirs Mill Road
                                                     Bedford, Nova Scotia

No comments:

Post a Comment