®

Today's poem is by Jane Satterfield

Improvisation

Ice on the limbs
of the isolate trees—
the weighted air, the feel
of enamel: things
set into place. What holds

the gaze here is the argument
otherwise, glitter
of snow & just how
you love it, mere

pieces of fallen light & what
has remained, the look
of good cover. Is this
love, the dream
of detachment,

our sleight-of-hand
over exhausted fields, the figures
in foreground reduced,
pushed to the back of
the landscape, as if

they've ceased
to exist?—as the eye
is taught to relinquish
its claim, to court & yet
never possess.

All night I dreamed
of the grave markers stylized,
a Gothic
grillework of paint.
How the haystacks

encrusted with ice
become an improvisation
of light. Apart,
we seek out a story

where what's lost
in transition
is gained
in effect—matter's
infinite song—

where to survive
is to walk on
insolvent ground,
no wild thing

scratching
for seed & a late
recognition of sky
by which is meant delight
its tenuous hold over all.



Copyright © 2002 Jane Satterfield All rights reserved
from Shepherdess with an Automatic
Washington Writers' Publishing House
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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