When snow is shaken From the balsam trees And they’re cut down And brought into our houses When clustered sparks Of many-colored fire Appear at night In ordinary windows We hear and sing The customary carols They bring us ragged miracles And hay and candles And flowering weeds of poetry That are loved all the more Because they are so common But there are carols That carry phrases Of the haunting music Of the other world A music wild and dangerous As a prophet’s message Or the fresh truth of children Who though they come to us From our own bodies Are altogether new With their small limbs And birdlike voices They look at us With their clear eyes And ask the piercing questions God alone can answer.Note: A recitation can be heard here.
- Mark Olival-Bartley
- As the resident poet at EcoHealth, my verse finds inspiration these days in the specter of future pandemics. For my dissertation at Amerika-Institut (LMU), I'm anatomizing the prosody of E. A. Robinson's sonnets. I also tutor at Schreibzentrum (LMU), teach at MVHS, and lead the Amerikahaus Literary Circle.
by Anne Porter