Rain Survives the Weather

“Poetry frees us from tyranny”
Tracy K. Smith — American Poet Laureate  2017 & 2018


The angels are playing with rainsticks.
Minuscule hail (or is that sleet?)  makes music
on the sidewalk already slick with December’s tears.

It is peaceful here and starless. The darkness
is a balm for the buzz of the process playing out.
What channel doesn’t cover it?  What
station? What newspaper?

Rhetorical bullets flash then fizzle.
Is this how fascism starts?  What do we want?
Would giving them pens make them poets?

We pray that wisdom withstands the rant.
December is dark, and cold, and wet. Only poetry
can survive such weather … Poetry
and the music of angels with rainsticks.

Allegorical December

The first fierce wind
and we whimper, dreading
the cold.  We’re so hidden
by armor ( wool is the new steel,)
that nobody knows.

No man is an island
except in winter when footprints
are covered by snow so fast
that even Hansel and Gretel
are lost.

We huddle in the blizzard,
leafing through Burpee’s new seed
catalog and dreaming of spring.
It keeps us from barbarism, allowing
momentarily the survival of civility.

Even as innocents
we know that all weather
is allegorical.  Fogged in
without a reflection, with nothing
but reflection,

we believe that prayers
and poetry will keep us from harm.
As the first star of night twinkles
through the dark, we know
that what we believe is right.


They climb ladders
looking for high notes,
Unlimited by sky
they seldom touch the ground,
No matter the season
there is always spring in their steps.

Moons, both blue and gold,
star trails, a bee in the cheese,
tendrils of hymn and always
the tag alongs.  Days that last
for weeks, paladins of pieces,
riffs that fill in the spaces
between songs.

Eclectic, electric, acoustic,
coldwater flat or loft,
penthouse or hovel,
never enough funds
but this carnival of harlequins
always keeps seeking.


On the Crosstown Shuttle

Standing room only
by the time she got on in the morning rush.
Each day he rose from the seat
he had claimed.

Face flushed, she acquiesced, a ritual
engaged with natural grace.
Though the ride was rough,

the waft of her perfume was worth it.
He needed no more thanks,
nor did he get it

for she was as reticent as her knight
of bold deeds and chivalry
on this ride to the city;

The shyest of smiles
made her his lady
as surely as a scarf bestowed.

Too soon they arrived at her stop
where the outside world
claimed the starring role.

Reality returned without mercy…
No words were needed to seal the deal;
they would meet again tomorrow…
Same time, same perfume.