Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November;
February has twenty-eight alone,
All the rest have thirty-one,
Excepting leap-year, that's the time
When February's days are twenty-nine.
Now wind torments the field,
turning the white surface back
on itself, back and back on itself,
like an animal licking a wound.
Nothing but white--the air, the light;
only one brown milkweed pod
bobbing in the gully, smallest
brown boat on the immense tide.
A single green sprouting thing
would restore me.
Then think of the tall delphinium,
swaying, or the bee when it comes
to the tongue of the burgundy lily.
White as an Indian Pipe
Red as a Cardinal Flower
Fabulous as a Moon at Noon
February Hour --
When the coal
Gave out, we began
Burning the books, one by one;
First the set
And then the Walter Scott.
They gave a lot of warmth.
Toward the end, in
Consumed the Greek
Tragedians and Baudelaire,
Proust, Robert Burton
And the Po-Chu-i.
Thickened on the sills.
More for the sake of the cat,
We said, than for ourselves,
Who huddled, shivering,
Against the stove
All winter long.
Four Tao philosophers as cedar waxwings
chat on a February berry bush
in sun, and I am one.
Such merriment and such sobriety--
the small wild fruit on the tall stalk--
was this not always my true style?
Above an elegance of snow, beneath
a silk-blue sky a brotherhood of four
Can you mistake us?
To sun, to feast, and to converse
and all together--for this I have abandoned
all my other lives.
THE BRIDGE says: Come across, try me; see how good I am.
The big rock in the river says: Look at me; learn how to stand up.
The white water says: I go on; around, under, over, I go on.
A kneeling, scraggly pine says: I am here yet; they nearly got me last year.
A sliver of moon slides by on a high wind calling: I know why; I’ll see you to-morrow; I’ll tell you everything to-morrow.