Sunday, January 3, 2010

January Morning

the cow pond exhaling smoke at 6 degrees the blue gray fog an aquarium miasma filled with sagebrush & emptiness

a face staring backwards & forwards in the blue gray frozen fog thru the willow thru the cloud of juncos & sparrows & the sagebrush breaking thru the snow on the round hill eastward

the rocks white the willow’s long hair black the poplars skeletal

a face staring backwards & forwards in a cloudy mirror & the mule deer outside the window leaping the barbed wire without any effort the dazzling flight of a magpie subdued in the freezing mist & white air

the chill is a teardrop mandolin tremoloed in its icy throat on a high octave E & the crow’s bitter snow is a chill in the heart muscle a contraction

tho the air is blue & gray & opaque & the ridge to the east has sunk below this sea of fog with its frosty water droplets distributing chill to the lungs

the cowpond exhaling smoke at 6 degrees the owl on the wing over the skeletal grape vines the owl appearing to me each night its face a white fog of feathers its wings knifing silently thru the white air soaring south

& the road is white with ice a frozen current swerving south without moving

a face staring in every cardinal direction seeing the white air the willow’s long black hair streaked white with hoarfrost

a rheumatic shoulder the lungs an aquarium miasma filled with sagebrush & emptiness the heart contracting its owl's wings in the white white air

a face staring into a blue gray frozen ocean stitched with barbed wire without a horizon

is it a new day

John Hayes
© 2010

[You can also check out my San Francisco poems on The Days of Wine & Roses—a new post each Sunday]


  1. The first line reminded me of a winter walk I once went on on the Kinder Scout plateau. It was frozen and snow covered. It was as surreal as your poems. We saw all sorts of strange things. A winter-coated white hare (unusual to see round here). A low tunnel disappearing into a mound of peat, steaming water trickling out of it. Wonderful ice-patterns close to the strangely named "Kinder Gates" (2 natural monoliths that stand either side of the meandering ("scouting")river Kinder -more like a stream, a trickle- in the middle of the plateau. It's a magical place.

    The photo could almost have been taken here.

  2. Hi Dominic: Very interesting to see that landscape--it is stark indeed, & I can intuit its magical presence--good pix at that link. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Spectacular photo and a poem to match! Thanks.

  4. Hi K: Thanks! Glad you liked these.

  5. Beautiful, John. Of course, the line that jumped out at me was, "the rocks white the willow’s long hair black the poplars skeletal". It was 7 degrees here when I woke up this morning. Brr.

  6. Hi Willow: Ah yes, the willow that grows outside my office window--it makes it into almost everything! 7 degrees is cold. Glad you liked this.

  7. Beautiful imagery, John. Certainly depicts the day.

  8. I love the way you animate the natural world. The exhaling with lungs and the miasma—as if the earth were sighing and resigned at what must be. Beautiful!

  9. Hi Kat: I do see the world as having being, tho I recognize that we each animate it in our own way as well. Glad you liked this!


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