December 14, 2007

Poetry Friday: North

by Philip Booth (1925-2007)

North is weather, Winter, and change:
a wind-shift, snow, and how ice ages
shape the moraine of a mountain range.

At tree line the chiseled ledges
are ragged to climb; wind-twist trees
give way to the trust of granite ridges,

peaks reach through abrasive centuries
of rain. The worn grain, the sleet-cut,
is magnified on blue Northwest days

where rock slides, like rip-tide, break out
through these geologic seas. Time
in a country of hills is seasonal light:

alpenglow, Northern lights, and tame
in October: Orion, cold hunter of stars.
Between what will be and was, rime

whites the foothill night and flowers
the rushes stilled in black millpond ice.
The dark, the nightfall temperatures

are North, and the honk of flyway geese
high over valley sleep. The woodland
is evergreen, ground pine, spruce,

and deadwood hills at the riverbend.
Black bear and mink fish beaver streams
where moose and caribou drink: beyond

the forests there are elk. Snowstorms
breed North like arctic birds that swirl
downhill, and in a blind wind small farms

are lost. At night the close cold is still,
the tilt world returns from sun to ice.
Glazed lichen is North, and snowfall

at five below. North is where rockface
and hoarfrost are formed with double grace:
love is twice warm in a cold place.

* * * *

If you need hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows to warm you up after reading that, see the previous post.

Tricia has today's Poetry Friday round-up, and a lovely Dusting of Snow, over at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

Sorry today's entry is so skimpy -- the kids and I have to plow through some pretty big snow drifts shortly to do the farm chores so we can get to town in time for today's special performance for students of "Blithe Spirit". Tomorrow evening Tom and I go. The kids have been primed with a viewing of David Lean's movie version with Rex Harrison on DVD, and are keen to see Mme. Arcati and Elvira in the flesh, as it were...

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