Mennonite Poetry Home | Leonard Neufeldt



The Season That Ages Words


An angel is the hope of a message
larger than itself if we believe
the white circle in which it stands,
its English eyes, its pale hand smaller
than most but otherwise perfect

Forgive me for writing this season
and memory. Winter is long enough
as it is. In the golden nightlights
near the Plaza the street
shines with salt and snow
and small drifts clumsy with the quiet
white of hospitals feel
the world crawl one way,
then another, around them


In the beginning the word said
"let there be winter"
but already the woman had felt change
in the air and the reserve of warmth
within, and she covered the man
with her thin blue coat.
On the Plaza's south side the flowers
were brown, and by afternoon
black trees jutted out of snow,
the sky between them immense
with two red-tailed hawks
circling lower, one screaming
its ice-age secret over
and over to the river below


For all the students in the doorway
and their long disorder of laughter on the
channel’s far side the wind
has made its adjustments,
and the man watching them
from the bench by the river-walk
subsides into what remains of him


Winter read out of itself.
How none of the shadows is right.
How the hawk will not relent.
How students have come outside to argue.
How the stillness of new ice at the edge
explodes like a rifle shot. How
the woman buying a newspaper
is warmed by the setting sun

©Leonard Neufeldt. Painting Over Sketches of Anatolia (Signature Editions, 2015). 




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