10 April, 2011

A Winter Poem for Spring's Springing


Siberian Exile

Observe: life aplenty, but nothing living
Nor beautiful. For beauty is unsatisfying,
Too fickle, too fleeting, and we speak
Only in absolutes, in basso voce, in taunts,
In outright lies; never may one permit his
Wrack-and-ruin teeth to chatter.

At one moment, in a certain light, might've
Been welcomed a little cold, a blast of ice for
These fevered souls, yet this tundra
— Arctic swath of bellicosity, sweeping
Northern winds, serpentine razor wire — threatens
To still so much love. But

It is more than temperature that carves
Out these scrimshaw bones, it is a chill
By which to shiver away while the gears that are
The tick-tock mechanism of senescence, of sons'
And daughters' narrowing faces, of wives'
Expanding emptiness grind inexhaustibly on.

* * * * *

A rare instance of prison life making an appearance in my poetry, I penned "Siberian Exile" at the beginning of a bitter winter, slightly more than four years ago. The weather now is warming, but the sentiment remains. This is as chilly a place today as when I wrote the piece. Spring's arrival only reminds me of the world's perpetual push onward and my own stagnation. Seeing the foliage return to distant trees, it's hard not to get bitter about the passing of another season unjustly locked away. I am bitter enough as it is; I scarcely require Mother Nature adding more wormwood and walnuts to the regional flora.

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