Ice Storm

The entire state covered in ice,
each tree and branch and branchlet
a candelabra; thousands of millions,
thousands of thousands of millions
of pearl-size gem-globes diamonding
the low December sun to nova brilliance —
countless as the stars in the visible sky —
if tears, enough to count
all the dead who ever died
(Dante’s innumerable rings
of Hell and plateau’d Purgatory
would not have space enough!) —
Niobe cried dry at last, relieved
of her weeping duty, calm
and at peace with her tormenter, Leto.

Ice spheres soften, elongate to cones,
tip to icicle spear-points and fall,
ring-singing their one-note, finite joy,
the unvoiced, voiced and visible,
their moment between two oblivions,
a self-made boat of water, westward
and down from iceberg to sea,
and so we sink, world ending with sun’s
apocalypse, the blind and blinding
quotidian. We are never done with words;
picking up shards of thought, slip-
sliding away from our grasp as fast
as we can take them in hand,
the firm solitude of ice gone
in the melted pool of yesterdays.

I just found this -- scribbled nervously on a legal pad. It was written two winters ago, as I sat on the campus of Uiversity of Rhode Island, waiting to commence the defense of my master's project. There are sneaky allusions to all three of my projects, but the impetus for the poem was the early morning bus ride from Providence to Kingston -- the sun diamonding off millions upon millions of pearl-size ice globes on every tree.


Popular Posts