Life in Glimpses
Like that landscape with its winter hunters,
an occasional pale or an amber
light glints from the outskirts.
I look out before dawn on the first of the year:
white ground, black air
through which the far lights flare.
Then, through thick filigree
of frozen fog along poplar tree
branches, come phosphorous plumes of war;
and evil is done in return
among memento mori
of our whited sepulchres.
I trace a dog's then a pigeon's tracks.
What were nerve-shredding reports
from mortars, petards
(or like, for that matter, champagne corks)
are firecracker remnants
cushioned on pristine falls of snow.
Later, in bleak-stubborn sunlight
that pristine fall gave way
to dark glints, wetness, crevices
from the day before,
our sorry world's injustices
surgical cruelties, still another war.
Later yet, a fingernail moon
hung in a start-of-year sky.
I glimpsed at its fringes
(of a pallid blue with flaky pink,
and suddenly more of it now
a whole block's been demolished)
that chilling landscape with winter hunters
set the further challenges
out where they burn and freeze once more.
Rescued from a lost afternoon,
I wasn't much company for anyone; but
you drove me out of that aloofness,
not far, to where farm chimneys
shared a sky with flustered trees.
By the flooded gravel pits,
seeing migrant species fly
suddenly in their fancy thousands,
it's as if I needed the assurance
of wigeon, teal, mute swans ...
or reassurance of a day,
a wintry dusk like any other
and its chilly wind
threatening one more snow event
another day been lent to us,
but not to be returned.