Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Poem by Charles Wright

Christmas East of the Blue Ridge

So autumn comes to an end with these few wet sad stains
Stuck to the landscape,
-----------------------December dark
Running its hands through the lank hair of late afternoon,
Little tongues of the rain holding forth
--------------------------------------under the eaves,
Such wash, such watery words...

So autumn comes to this end,
And winter's vocabulary, downsized and distanced,
Drop by drop
Captures the conversation with its monosyllabic gutturals
And tin music,
---------------gravelly consonants, scratched vowels.

Soon the came drivers will light up their fires, soon the stars
Will start on their brief dip down from the back of heaven,
Down to the desert's dispensation
And night reaches, the gall and first birth,
The second only one word from now,
--------------------------------one word and its death from right now.

Meanwhile, in Charlottesville, the half-moon
Hums like a Hottentot
----------------------high over Monticello,
Clouds dishevel and rag out,
The alphabet of our discontent
Keeps on with its lettering,
-------------------------------gold on the black walls of our hearts...

from Locales: Poems from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, edited by Fred Chappell