Entry LXXXI – September

Winter Night

Ted Olson

Blow now against the cold your thin
Ephemeral breath. Evoke the ghost
Of the pale flame that pants within.
This is yourself. This phantom, lost
On air, this filigree in frost,
Is all of warmth and brawn that hold
At bay the interstellar cold.

Trace in the braided wrist the tick
Of tunneling blood. This quiver, brief
As the wind’s tread along the leaf,
This rhythm feebler than the flick
Of cricket’s wing, no less sustains
The thrust of chaos blindly hurled
Against the frail tide of the veins–
The weight of crumbling world on world.

Breathe hard against the icy wind
Once more. Blow forth against the bright
Brave ghost of flame, a javelinned
Defiance to the crowding night.
Then get you in–to bed– forget,
If so you can, how pulse and breath
(A moment yet . . . a moment yet . . .)
Beat back the seismic tides of death.




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