Catherine Chandler's Poetry Blog

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"December" by Eric Ormsby

Photo by Ian Britton (


December rings in the chill mouths of bells,
The shadowy solicitude of grasses
Eyelashed with precarious snow.
There is a crystalline insistence in the black
Repetitious roof-tops with their shock
Of snow. The ragged chimneys seem
To pray with fingers pinched
Together in entreaty while the luscious
Clouds of winter wallow on grey
Organzas of sundown.

                                            December bows
Under threadbare memories. The spider
In the corners of the house shrivels
To a small, dark claw. At night
Our dreams infringe and pool,
Our common terrors shake us in sleep.

Upriver there are remote
Oceans whose cold waves will ring
Like freezing echoes in the mouths of bells.

- Eric Ormsby (from Bavarian Shrine and other poems, 1990) 
[reprinted with Eric Ormsby's written permission] 


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