and other sonnets by
ED HACK | Teacher + Poet
THE trees are stripped to winter bone, all shape,
pure form, and nothing else. They’re now stout trunks
and sticks against the pale, cold sky. Their fate’s
to be exactly what they are–great hunks
of living form, companions through the year’s
parade of months by which we measure life.
The autumn’s bloody fire’s gone, those smears
of seething oranges and reds in strife
between the brutal knife of winter’s wind
and blithe spring’s fragile testament in leaves
blown loose in crazed and helpless flight that thinned
the trees down to bare strength, not to their knees.
Some few brown stiffened claws of leaves are left
like witches’ butchered hands upraised, bereft.
THE silver edge of afternoon glares knives
of sun into our eyes. The winter day
retreats with ice in light about to die–
a half hour more and then the bright decays
to dark while orange ash burns out steel-gray
and frigid night comes closing in. I don’t
know what’s as dark as winter nights, the way
black ink spills through the sky and won’t
allow a hint of light except for stars’
bright-silver white that glows across the span
of time from distances beyond what’s far,
from origins we do not understand.
The black fills every pore of everything.
It presses into all our homes and clings.
Another Winter Morning
PALE bloom of white across the frozen grass,
across the top of reddish brush that lines
the grass behind which is the woods. Frail mask
of morning mist now ghosts the air, the pines,
the naked stretching skeletons of oak
and maple trees surrendered to the cold.
What light is this? It’s more faint-hearted hope
than light, more veil of what’s not night, as old
as snow and fire’s tricky magic balm
that saved us in our freezing caves. No bird,
not one, but this gray silence isn’t calm.
It is the world before we spoke a word.
The mist is gone. The air’s become steel gray.
Now freezing rain to saturate the day.