Archives for posts with tag: December Poem

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JANUARY
by W. S. Merwin

So after weeks of rain
at night the winter stars
that much farther in heaven
without our having seen them
in far light are still forming
the heavy elements
that when the stars are gone
fly up as dust finer
by many times than a hair
and recognize each other
in the dark traveling
at great speed and becoming
our bodies in our time
looking up after rain
in the cold night together

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born in 1927, W.S. Merwin served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 2010-2011. He is the author of over 50 books of poetry, prose, and translations — and has  earned every major literary prize, including the National Book Award in 2005 for Migration: New and Selected Poems and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in1971 and 2009. He lives in Hawaii where he raises endangered palm trees. Visit his website at merwinconservancy.org.

PHOTO: “January 2014 night sky” by Ruben Kier. According to astronomy.com: “Some of the brightest stars of the winter sky are within the constellation Orion the Hunter, allowing it to be recognized from both rural dark skies and light-polluted suburbs.”

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TOWARD THE WINTER SOLSTICE
by Timothy Steele

Although the roof is just a story high,
It dizzies me a little to look down.
I lariat-twirl the rope of Christmas lights
And cast it to the weeping birch’s crown;
A dowel into which I’ve screwed a hook
Enables me to reach, lift, drape, and twine
The cord among the boughs so that the bulbs
Will accent the tree’s elegant design.

Friends, passing home from work or shopping, pause
And call up commendations or critiques.
I make adjustments. Though a potpourri
Of Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jews, and Sikhs,
We all are conscious of the time of year;
We all enjoy its colorful displays
And keep some festival that mitigates
The dwindling warmth and compass of the days.

Some say that L.A. doesn’t suit the Yule,
But UPS vans now like magi make
Their present-laden rounds, while fallen leaves
Are gaily resurrected in their wake;
The desert lifts a full moon from the east
And issues a dry Santa Ana breeze,
And valets at chic restaurants will soon
Be tending flocks of cars and SUV’s.

And as the neighborhoods sink into dusk
The fan palms scattered all across town stand
More calmly prominent, and this place seems
A vast oasis in the Holy Land.
This house might be a caravansary,
The tree a kind of cordial fountainhead
Of welcome, looped and decked with necklaces
And ceintures of green, yellow , blue, and red.

Some wonder if the star of Bethlehem
Occurred when Jupiter and Saturn crossed;
It’s comforting to look up from this roof
And feel that, while all changes, nothing’s lost,
To recollect that in antiquity
The winter solstice fell in Capricorn
And that, in the Orion Nebula,
From swirling gas, new stars are being born.

“Toward the Winter Solstice” by Timothy Steele, from Toward the Winter Solstice © Swallow Press, 2005, available at Amazon.com.

Photo: Jenny Spadafora, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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DECEMBER MOON
by May Sarton

Before going to bed

After a fall of snow

I look out on the field

Shining there in the moonlight

So calm, untouched and white

Snow silence fills my head

After I leave the window.


 
Hours later near dawn

When I look down again

The whole landscape has changed

The perfect surface gone

Criss-crossed and written on

Where the wild creatures ranged

While the moon rose and shone.


 
Why did my dog not bark?

Why did I hear no sound

There on the snow-locked ground
In the tumultuous dark?


 
How much can come, how much can go

When the December moon is bright,

What worlds of play we’ll never know

Sleeping away the cold white night

After a fall of snow.

Painting: Phoenix Arts Group, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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RAIN AT NIGHT
by W.S. Merwin

This is what I have heard

at last the wind in December
lashing the old trees with rain
unseen rain racing along the tiles
under the moon
wind rising and falling
wind with many clouds
trees in the night wind

after an age of leaves and feathers
someone dead
thought of this mountain as money
and cut the trees
that were here in the wind
in the rain at night
it is hard to say it
but they cut the sacred ‘ohias then
the sacred koas then
the sandalwood and the halas
holding aloft their green fires
and somebody dead turned cattle loose
among the stumps until killing time

but the trees have risen one more time
and the night wind makes them sound
like the sea that is yet unknown
the black clouds race over the moon
the rain is falling on the last place

“Rain at Night” is found in Rain in the Trees, Poems by W.S. Merwin(Knopf, 1988), available at Amazon.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born in 1927, W.S. Merwin served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 2010-2011. He is the author of over 50 books of poetry, prose, and translations — and has  earned every major literary prize, including the National Book Award in 2005 for Migration: New and Selected Poems and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in1971 and 2009. He lives in Hawaii where he raises endangered palm trees. Visit his website at merwinconservancy.org.

Photo: “Rain Forest, Hawaii,” by Ariel Robbins, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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RAIN AT NIGHT

by W.S. Merwin

This is what I have heard

at last the wind in December
lashing the old trees with rain
unseen rain racing along the tiles
under the moon
wind rising and falling
wind with many clouds
trees in the night wind

after an age of leaves and feathers
someone dead
thought of this mountain as money
and cut the trees
that were here in the wind
in the rain at night
it is hard to say it
but they cut the sacred ‘ohias then
the sacred koas then
the sandalwood and the halas
holding aloft their green fires
and somebody dead turned cattle loose
among the stumps until killing time

but the trees have risen one more time
and the night wind makes them sound
like the sea that is yet unknown
the black clouds race over the moon
the rain is falling on the last place

“Rain at Night” is found in Rain in the Trees, Poems by W.S. Merwin (Knopf, 1988), available at Amazon.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born in 1927, W.S. Merwin served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 2010-2011. He is the author of over 50 books of poetry, prose, and translations — and has  earned every major literary prize, including the National Book Award in 2005 for Migration: New and Selected Poems and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in1971 and 2009. He lives in Hawaii where he raises endangered palm trees. Visit his website at merwinconservancy.org.

Photo: “Rain Forest, Hawaii,” by Ariel Robbins, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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DECEMBER MOON
by May Sarton

Before going to bed

After a fall of snow

I look out on the field

Shining there in the moonlight

So calm, untouched and white

Snow silence fills my head

After I leave the window.


 
Hours later near dawn

When I look down again

The whole landscape has changed

The perfect surface gone

Criss-crossed and written on

Where the wild creatures ranged

While the moon rose and shone.


 
Why did my dog not bark?

Why did I hear no sound

There on the snow-locked ground
In the tumultuous dark?


 
How much can come, how much can go

When the December moon is bright,

What worlds of play we’ll never know

Sleeping away the cold white night

After a fall of snow.

Painting: Phoenix Arts Group, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED