Today's poem is by David Livewell

Winter Mantel
        Terar dum prosim (a motto from Thomas Carlyle's home)

The copper vessel boasts its age
In the hand-hammered, tarnished sides.
The iron handle scrolls, then slides
Through hoops and crimps. Your fingers gauge

The vessel's volume, which you feed
With cones until you overflow
The brim. These wooden lilacs grow
Like blooms to shield ovules and seed

Beneath a shingled core. The winter
Winds and the snows won't break the spell
You stoke. Like conifers, we dwell
In timber towers. All might splinter

Like ornaments on loosened wire.
Beneath the clock you kindle love
For kids whose stockings hang above
Carlyle's creed and midnight's fire:

"Consumed in service" like the cones,
A hearth adorned to warm our bones.

Copyright © 2012 David Livewell All rights reserved
from Shackamaxon
Truman State University Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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