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I  The Plum Tree

James Reaney


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Gray Pillar

Alone in the farmhouse am I.
Cyclopean eye in the thisway
And the thatway of bannisters
And staircases; mouseholes
Like the eyes of skeletons
And wardrobes and closets
Whose intestines are old dresses.
Beneath and downstairs
With ice-tones
The clock strikes.

I see a little pond
Exquisite upon a Christmas card
Filled with one excited skater.
He strikes with delicate foot
Twelve times
The bell-like ice of clean water
Turned to glass.
Never never shall the ice melt
Nor the excited skater cease
To write upon glass with diamond foot
My life and love and childhood,
Although the yellow old willow nearby
Surrounded by this modern floor of ice
Reminds us of our deathfullness;
This yellowness, these gold veins and arteries
Flowing, flowering into a wintry sky
That has a gray breast-bone
Speak all as mortal . . .
Still, these things shall never die.
The blue wind that blew
The skraping skater
And the mohock star
That scraped upon my window-pane pond
The names of my german,
The names of my leman,
The hour of my birthday,
The maze and passageways,
The rage and laziness
Of all my life.