Sunday, November 4, 2007




Sounding

Outside, the moon floats through a leafless tree,
riding peaceably the road well taken
through Orion with his boots in the snow.
A mongrel underneath the tree
paws the ground at carp in the stream,
settles composedly in a mongrel’s dream.
Within, the woman turns, unawakened,
leaving the trace of a dream in a sigh,
and draws the patchwork tighter over shoulders and hips
weighted in the furnace hiss that serves as lullaby.
There is no reading to be done,
no study of poets, of Coleridge
contemplating frost at midnight.
Rather, the plumb for stillness wrapped in ice,
the maple sprig glazed by the stream,
is the night itself, dark and frozen,
hanging from the silver throne of Betelgeuse
by a rarefied thread that issues
the sounding of a sleeping world:
life, like the north gate,
is held fast in winter’s skin,
and yet there is the fire of a cold star,
sap-filled roots, a moon riding the sky.
There is a pulse in the stream, somewhere.
There is the trace of a dream in a sigh.

(First published in American Poets & Poetry, 1999)

4 comments:

jason evans said...

through Orion with his boots in the snow

I love the line!

Thanks for the link to me. I would be happy to add one back.

Bernita said...

Yes.
Orion is my favourite constellation.
I also like "the maple sprig glazed by the stream,
is the night itself, dark and frozen"
A good poem, Billy.

Billy said...

Thank you, Jason. Yes--I'd be honored for you to provide a link back.

Billy said...

Kind Bernita--thank you. I wrote this poem in 1977, and it remains one of my favorites. Was inspired by Colerdige's "Frost at Midnight." Everything quiet, but what does the silence mean. Thanks for stopping by.