Tuesday, January 4, 2011

January Morning

[This poem, written almost exactly one year ago, is from my collection The Spring Ghazals—more info after the poem itself]

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

My collection of recent poems is called The Spring Ghazals & it can be purchased at any of the following online outlets:

Barnes & Noble (new—& a bargain at $11.04 US!)
Amazon UK (£7.94)

Both Amazon & Lulu have the book for $12 US. 

In addition, you can read an excellent review of The Spring Ghazals by Sheila Graham-Smith on the Tangerine Tree Press blog right here.  In the course of the review, Ms Graham-Smith offers a beautiful reading of "January Morning."


  1. Willows and fog and hoarfrost. These are a few of my favorite things. Beautiful, John.

  2. This is positively beautiful. The language is so rich and the images so striking.

  3. Hi Tess & Caroline

    Tess: Thanks so much.

    Caroline: Really appreciating your appreciation! Thanks for the Twitter RT too!

  4. Good stuff. (I can imagine it, for some reason, read to Philip Glass' music - I think he did something similar for some of Ginsberg's poems).

  5. Hi Domninic: Glad you liked it--& yes, I'd take a Phillip Glass setting! Interesting, because there's been some conversation about setting some of the poems in The Spring Ghazals to music--readers have mentioned it & I've given it some thought. Still not sure how to proceed, however.


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