Thursday, September 23, 2010

Poets and Poems - Charles P.R. Tisdale

Winter’s Last Snowstorm

It is too cold for argument, and yet, teeth chattering,
You would have me, walking down this country road,
Explain the reasons for my silence. Winter’s last snowstorm
Lashes past the budtips on the trees, stinging my wrists
At the point between pocket and cuff,
The Achilles heel of all casual talkers caught
Empty handed, quite content to let a wincing eyelid
Become the numb imposter of response. Nevertheless,
A few words are in order, and I give them readily,
To resolve the differences, sticking the orange plug on
What for me was a snowman, for you, apparently,
A ghost without a tongue.

Forgive me. I would not presume upon the future
So confidently if this were October and the snow
Falling deeper than my boots. Then we must have talked
A life measured by the words. As it is, barely a tenth
Of an inch scuds like beachsand across the roadway,
Clings on the forsythia and the flowering quince,
Weighs upon their branches the ice sculpture of memory,
Melting – lightest of canvas – beneath the season’s warmer pigments,
Its yellow streams of sundrops, firepinks of read.

In this whirlwind of spring, how can you ask me for my word?
I verge near the surface, paying lip service
To the sedative of speech, choosing other than the sound
The certitude of blooms. There is no use for answers
When you and I both see this is winter’s last requirement.
Up the road a dog sniffs the shoulders, lean and lonely
For a bone.

"Winter's Last Snowstorm," in New North Carolina Poetry: The Eighties. Ed. Stephen Smith, Green River Press, 1982, p. 89.

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1 comment:

snowbird said...

When a meditation couches in a memory and reveals itself in such telling terms... wonderful poetry. Thank you.