To grow old is to lose everything.
Aging, everybody knows it.
Even when we are young,
we glimpse it sometimes, and nod our heads
All winter your brute shoulders strained against collars, padding
and steerhide over the ash hames, to haul
sledges of cordwood for drying through spring and summer,
for the Glenwood stove next winter, and for the simmering range.
Snow fell in the night.
At five-fifteen I woke to a bluish
mounded softness where
the Honda was. Cat fed and coffee made,
In a week or ten days
the snow and ice
will melt from Cemetery Road.
Mount Kearsarge shines with ice; from hemlock branches
snow slides onto snow; no stream, creek, or river
budges but remains still. Tonight
we carry armloads of logs
when my father had been dead a week
with his voice in my ear
I sat up in bed
we gather at the white Church festooned
red and green, the tree flashing
green-red lights beside the altar.
In the mid August, in the second year
of my First Polar Expedition, the snow and ice of winter
almost upon us, Kantiuk and I
attempted to dash the sledge
A storm was coming, that was why it was dark. The wind was blowing the fronds of the palm trees off. They were maples. I looked out the window across the big lawn. The house was huge, full of children and old people. The lion was loose. Either because of the wind, or by malevolent human energy, which is the same thing, the cage had come open. Suppose a child walked outside!
A child walked outside. I knew that I must protect him from the lion. I threw myself on top of the child. The lion roared over me. In the branches and the bushes there was suddenly a loud crackling. The lion cringed. I looked up and saw that the elephant was loose!
High on a slope in New Guinea
The Grumman Hellcat
lodges among bright vines
as thick as arms. In 1943,