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Donald Hall Poems

A collection of select Donald Hall famous poems that were written by Donald Hall or written about the poet by other famous poets. PoetrySoup is a comprehensive educational resource of the greatest poems and poets on history.

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by Hall, Donald
 Images leap with him from branch to branch. His eyes
brighten, his head cocks, he pauses under a green bough,
alert.
And when I see him I want to hide him somewhere.
The other wood is past the hill. But he will enter it, and find the particular maple. He will walk through the door of the maple, and his arms will pull...Read More



by Hall, Donald
 To grow old is to lose everything. 
Aging, everybody knows it. 
Even when we are young, 
we glimpse it sometimes, and nod our heads 
when a grandfather dies.
Then we row for years on the midsummer 
pond, ignorant and content. But a marriage,
that began without harm, scatters 
into debris on the shore, 
and a friend from school drops 
cold on...Read More

by Hall, Donald
 Snow fell in the night.
At five-fifteen I woke to a bluish
mounded softness where 
the Honda was. Cat fed and coffee made,
I broomed snow off the car
and drove to the Kearsarge Mini-Mart
before Amy opened 
to yank my Globe out of the bundle.
Back, I set my cup of coffee
beside Jane, still half-asleep,
murmuring stuporous
thanks in the aquamarine morning.
Then I sat in my...Read More

by Hall, Donald
 December twenty-first
we gather at the white Church festooned 
red and green, the tree flashing 
green-red lights beside the altar.
After the children of Sunday School 
recite Scripture, sing songs,
and scrape out solos,
they retire to dress for the finale,
to perform the pageant 
again: Mary and Joseph kneeling 
cradleside, Three Kings,
shepherds and shepherdesses. Their garments 
are bathrobes with mothholes, 
cut down from...Read More

by Hall, Donald
 In a week or ten days
the snow and ice
will melt from Cemetery Road.

I'm coming! Don't move!

Once again it is April.
Today is the day
we would have been married
twenty-six years.

I finished with April
halfway through March.

You think that their
dying is the worst
thing that could happen.

Then they stay dead.

Will Hall ever write
lines that do anything
but whine and complain?

In April the blue
mountain revises
from white...Read More



by Hall, Donald
 It has happened suddenly,
by surprise, in an arbor,
or while drinking good coffee,
after speaking, or before,

that I dumbly inhabit
a density; in language,
there is nothing to stop it,
for nothing retains an edge.

Simple ignorance presents,
later, words for a function,
but it is common pretense
of speech, by a convention,

and there is nothing at all
but inner silence, nothing
to relieve on principle
now this intense thickening....Read More

by Hall, Donald
 Mount Kearsarge shines with ice; from hemlock branches 
snow slides onto snow; no stream, creek, or river 
budges but remains still. Tonight
we carry armloads of logs

from woodshed to Glenwood and build up the fire 
that keeps the coldest night outside our windows.
Sit by the woodstove, Camilla, 
while I bring glasses of white,

and we'll talk, passing the time, about weather...Read More

by Hall, Donald
 All winter your brute shoulders strained against collars, padding 
and steerhide over the ash hames, to haul 
sledges of cordwood for drying through spring and summer, 
for the Glenwood stove next winter, and for the simmering range.

In April you pulled cartloads of manure to spread on the fields, 
dark manure of Holsteins, and knobs of your own clustered with...Read More

by Hall, Donald
All winter your brute shoulders strained against collars, padding
and steerhide over the ash hames, to haul
sledges of cordwood for drying through spring and summer,
for the Glenwood stove next winter, and for the simmering range.

In April you pulled cartloads of manure to spread on the fields,
dark manure of Holsteins, and knobs of your own clustered with oats.
All summer you mowed the...Read More

by Hall, Donald
 A storm was coming, that was why it was dark. The wind was blowing the fronds of the palm trees off. They were maples. I looked out the window across the big lawn. The house was huge, full of children and old people. The lion was loose. Either because of the wind, or by malevolent human energy, which is...Read More

by Hall, Donald
 The clock of my days winds down.
The cat eats sparrows outside my window.
Once, she brought me a small rabbit
which we devoured together, under
the Empire Table
while the men shrieked
repossessing the gold umbrella.

Now the beard on my clock turns white.
My cat stares into dark corners
missing her gold umbrella.
She is in love
with the Alligator Bride.

Ah, the tiny fine white
teeth! The Bride, propped...Read More

by Hall, Donald
 High on a slope in New Guinea
The Grumman Hellcat
lodges among bright vines
as thick as arms. In 1943,
the clenched hand of a pilot
glided it here
where no one has ever been. 

In the cockpit, the helmeted
skeleton sits
upright, held
by dry sinews at neck
and shoulder, and webbing
that straps the pelvic cross
to the cracked
leather of the seat, and the breastbone
to the canvas cover
of the...Read More

by Hall, Donald
 Katie could put her feet behind her head
Or do a grand plié, position two,
Her suppleness magnificent in bed.

I strained my lower back, and Katie bled,
Only a little, doing what we could do
When Katie tucked her feet behind her head.

Her torso was a C-cup'd figurehead,
Wearing below its navel a tattoo
That writhed in suppleness upon the bed.

As love led on to...Read More

by Hall, Donald
 when my father had been dead a week
I woke with his voice in my ear 
I sat up in bed

and held my breath
and stared at the pale closed door

white apples and the taste of stone

if he called again
I would put on my coat and galoshes...Read More

by Hall, Donald
 In the mid August, in the second year
of my First Polar Expedition, the snow and ice of winter
almost upon us, Kantiuk and I
attempted to dash the sledge
along Crispin Bay, searching again for relics
of the Frankline Expedition. Now a storm blew,
and we turned back, and we struggled slowly
in snow, lest we depart land and venture onto ice
from which a sudden...Read More