Today's poem is by Richard Cecil

One Hundredth Anniversary Edition of "Birches"

Ice shouldn't look so pretty hung from trees
whose limbs are going to fall on power lines
and cut me off from light and heat for days.
Ice ought to be as black and dull as asphalt,
smearing what it clings to like spilt oil.
It shouldn't hang from sagging wires like tinsel
cheering up the dreary winter landscape
six weeks after Christmas. Sidewalk ice
should not look like a gleaming coat of varnish
brushed on to brighten up the dull gray concrete.
Ice shouldn't turn my neighbor's rusty Olds
into a fairy coach encased in glass.
If ice were only beautiful and useless
as ballet is, as poetry once was,
I'd praise it as the only luxury
that people with no money could afford.
No half week's pay's required to see this ice show.
All seats are free, with equally good views—
though I prefer my city-country view,
where Frost-like glittering maples fill one window
while iced up streets and sidewalks fill the other.
Subtract a hundred years and I'd be thrilled
to jot down notes for "Birches" by my wood stove
with pen and paper lit with oil lamp light.
But, like a deep sea diver, I'm attached
by lifelines that supply me all my needs,
even letters—pixels on a screen
that will go blank when my electric's cut,
(Which will be soon—my lights are flickering.)
When those wires snap I'll shiver in the dark,
cursing beauty that I ought to praise
in blank verse lines so eloquent that they're archived
in the 22nd Century Norton Online Anthology.
But somewhere in my desk drawer there's a Bic
with ink enough to write a page or two,
before sun sets, of this mixed review
of Nature's Ice Show—a literal smash hit
as cars out front slide through the intersection
and branches out back shatter on the ice crust.

Copyright © 2013 Richard Cecil All rights reserved
from River Styx
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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