Still


Under the eastern trees in a northern city
of a southeastern state a yellow sun is fast rising.
10,000 degrees there and 18 here with no wind
except the wind of change. Black against
the gray-blue orange cloudless sky, fat robins
flit in the tops of frozen trees and twitter in
witness to this advent. “Expect the un-
expected,” my friend said yesterday leaving
to fly north along with the snow white nor’easter
we suffered here in Raleigh, a surprise on
margins of expectation, fringes of prediction.
Late this week it will be 70, blowing again.

Wandering later in the gallery, another landscape
stops me cold, stuck to an art museum wall
sharing space with Wyeth’s cold worlds painted
in warm browns and grays, its swirling shades of
gray mist frozen in oil and wax on canvas, pale
mountains across a body of white fog-covered
water, distant mists abstracting distant hills.

Sitting at the top of a scooped-out bay or
cove of rock, this windless place brings comfort,
peaceful like misty dawns at the tree-line of western
mountains named Black for trees’ look in dusk,
like the bright robins I saw at dawn.

Like planets painted in an old astronomy book,
there’s no life but smears of green in the foreground
suggesting moss – no leaves, no shrubs, no birds,
nothing with legs on the lonely, cold road.
A vision of a scene somewhere else, a place
to be lost in its void, lost and restored.

Then to the poetry reading, party in the foyer,
back to my home where it is dark, still cold. No wind
yet, no one on the street but one man, black
in the dark between street lights. The creek is rising
no longer, but in the dark it is murmuring still.