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The Four Seasons

I
ICICLES fall from trees, molten with age, 
without memory - they stand aloof in their 
nakedness - they limber; 
like the gods terrified into silence, 
like tall brooding deities looming out of the 
fog: 

The forest hugs them 
carves them into stones, 
Etches them into the slow 
eastern landscape: rivers, hills 
the slow running water, 
times broken inscapes…

The willows are burdened with ice 
the white shrouds of burial spread 
upon the earth's ravaged face; the eyes 
unseeing, the mouth unspeaking, 
a gust of wind proclaims the anger of 
immemorial ages; the cycle, the 
eternal ritual of mystical returns - 

The cypress - whitening -
boneless; wearing her best habit, 
a pale green in the forest of ghosts -

And so I walk through this windless night 
through the narrow imponderable road 
through the silence - the silence of trees -

I hear not even the gust of wind
I hear only the quiet earth, thawing underneath; 
I hear the slow silent death of winter -

where the sun is yellowest.
But above, Monadnock looms like some angry Moloch, her white nipple seizing the space drained of all milk.
.
.
A she-devil beckoning to worshippers seductive - her arm stretching outwards - to this lonely pilgrim lost in the mist: Behold the school of wild bucks Behold the meeting of incarnate spirits - Behold the lost souls bearing tapers in rags of rich damask, Down Thomas - the saint of unbelievers - down the road to bliss Down to the red house, uncertain like a beggar's bowl hanging unto the cliff of withdrawn pledges, where the well is deepest.
.
.
I have dared to live beneath the great untamed.
To every good, to every flicker of stars along the pine shadows; To every tussle with lucid dusk, To every moonlit pledge, to every turn made to outleap silvery pollen, I have desired to listen - to listen - to the ripening of seasons.
.
.
.
Winter 2001 This is ONE of a continuing sequence.

Poem by Obi Nwakanma
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