Green Hills Literary Lantern




From the Manual for Tightrope Walkers


Disasters dance, always in spring

here with greenish clouds clabbered down

and later dark, snarling through the town,

but even there, Ohio woods, tire swing,

a line of poplars, military, straight,

a dogwood branching sweetly by the gate,


April was evil, curled and wormed

its way into our lives, rotting the wood,

unseen, of the shelter we built, trusted abode,

and the sidewalk where we walked no longer firm.

Even as year by year some great loss comes in May,

green appears on branches while I look the other way.


Those faithful chargers rear and dance about,

destroy the garden, snort and rear up high,

unbidden.  How each warm dawn denies

with bird-mad chants of lust and shouts

of color lacing up the redbud,

bursting stars born on the stems of daffodils!


They all sing life and I comply,

make coffee, welcome this tilt towards sky

and tuck away the file cards that chart such doubts,

make plans for Friday when we’ll all go out.



Carol Hamilton's most recent books are Shots On and Contrapuntal from Finishing Line Press. Past and forthcoming publications include South Carolina Review, Poet Lore, Connecticut River Review, Louisiana Literature, Quercus Review, Sunstone, The Aurorean, Southwestern American Literature, Poem, Listening Eye, Lyric, Comstock Review, Atlanta Review, New York Quarterly, Karamu, Chariton Review, Abbey, Cape Rock, Deronda Review and others.